[Cumming of Age]
Queer revolution is the name of the game in “Ze”: Queer as Fuck!, a deeply personal one-person show that explores the vast depths of identity politics. It’s a show deliberately designed to appeal to those who identify with an anti-assimilation, non-conformist attitude. But, more than simply agitprop, everything is backed up by personal anecdotes and experience.
Beginning with a perfunctory intro to gender and sexuality 101, Michelle/Ryan takes us through the complex spectrum of binaries that most people never consider. While I expect most audience members of the LGBTIQ+ variety are already educated in this field, it’s a necessary topic to cover, and builds a solid foundation for the rest of the show.
Once we begin to delve into the personal history of Michelle, beginning with her evangelical Christian upbringing and repressed household, things get far more interesting. Not only does she come out once, but she comes out again and again. Where she becomes he, becomes genderqueer, sex-positive, kink-friendly, and non-monogamous. The truism that you never just come out once is put to the extreme here, reminding us that we don’t have one monolithic identity, but a multitude of selves hungry to be realized.
And unlike most shows that might describe themselves as the mostest of the most, Queer As Fuck!, really is one of the queer as fuckiest shows: unabashed and unafraid, never shying away from the more taboo aspects of sexuality, and embracing the religious ecstasy that comes with self-discovery. It’s about the different types of pride, the ones that aren’t so easy to be proud of. The ones that aren’t displayed for all to see in the parades or posters.
This won’t be the first time I’ve said a show deserves to be seen in sex education classes nationwide (see: Live Orgy), but I mean it just as much this second time around, if not more so. And while it is unlikely to happen anytime soon, the very idea of teenagers who were like myself watching this show gives me hope. Until then, those who can get a hold of tickets to this show should. You don’t often get to see yourself reflected on the stage or to see what it’s like on the other side of the rainbow. It’s time to get radicalised both emotionally and intellectually.
“Ze”: Queer as Fuck! plays as part of Auckland Fringe and Auckland Pride Festivals until 25 Feb. Details see Q.