Thought Residency: Liam Zarrillo

Thought Residency: Liam Zarrillo


Hey, it’s Liam, and this is my final thought ah for the month of September.

September, which is objectively the hardest month of the year. Or maybe it just is to me um…

But I’ve spent most of this month actually feeling really afraid. A lot. But fear is just the other side of excitement, right? They are like two sides of the same coin.

Someone pretty smart told me that.

I’m still processing it all ah but I think that the process is to be trusted. So.

Thanks for having me. Thanks for listening.


Hey, it’s Liam, and this is my eleventh thought. Which is also my second last thought of this residency.

And I’m feeling some kind of self-imposed pressure to offer some sort of profound thought, to be thinking something big.

Um, but mostly, all I’m thinking about this morning is how much I hate to be rushed. And so, in the spirit of that, I’m not gonna rush it.

Today I’m going to slow down, drink water and take time.


Hey, it’s Liam, and this is my tenth thought.

So tonight I’m just thinking about family and traditions and rituals. And, I guess, the things that we carry with us. That families carry with them from where they’ve come from to where they are now.

And how special it is that, ah, something like a tradition or a ritual can bring people together from all different parts of the world or parts of the country. And how lucky I am to get to engage in that with my own family.

Um, we have our rituals, we have our things and… it’s kind of like the way my dad tells the same story over and over, um, it doesn’t matter how many times you hear it or how many times we engage in these traditions, ah… you’re still able to derive the same amount of joy.

And I think that’s, um, something pretty special.


Hey, it’s Liam, and this is my ninth thought.

Ah, so tonight I am thinking about packing. And my own process of packing and how is has become this very purposeful or intentional system of overpacking. Um, gratuitously so. Ahh, more is more, as they say, but I do wonder when it escalated to this point. Um, when it became so… obnoxious.

And I do wonder if there really is or what is the most efficient way to pack. For any kind of trip.

And if efficient and effective are really the same thing?


Hey, it’s Liam, and this is my eighth thought.

Today I’m just thinking that it’s okay to do too much. And it’s okay to care too much.  And it’s okay to, uh, think too much.

Better too much, than not at all, I think.

And let’s just value things when they’re upon us, so we don’t regret it when they aren’t.

And I think that was, like, four thoughts so, you’re welcome


Hey, it’s Liam, and this is my seventh thought.

This morning I was confronted with the very unexpected reminder of just how difficult and complicated my body can be. And I carried the weight of that for most of the day. But, I was also reminded by one of my favorite people in the world that, um, I actually have the right to set my own boundaries and that I don’t owe anyone an explanation, um, for how my body is or the way that it is.

And I think it’s really important to remember that.

And I think that it would be really nice actually if we spent a lot less time talking about bodies, and a lot more time talking about… anything else.


Hey, it’s Liam, and this is my sixth thought.

I’m in Winnipeg tonight, my hometown, and I am staring out the window, and it is raining and I’m just wondering… how do I put this… uh-um, I am wondering, um, how worth it is to know what someone else is thinking?

And how honest are we when we share what we are thinking?

What do we know, really know, versus what do we admit?

And what spaces let us be the most honest with those thoughts?

I’d say that I really have that chance here but tonight it seems I’m doing more speculating than truth-telling.

But at least this week had a bit of a theme.


Hey, it’s Liam, and this is my fifth thought.

So, kind of tangential to yesterday’s speculations on the truth… um, I’ve had a bit of a weird day today.

Ah, I’ve spent most of today feeling like, ah, a total imposter.

And its something that happens to me from time to time, more often than I’d like to admit.

Where I feel like an imposter in several of the different spaces, ah, that sort of make up my life.

Ah, I fear and worry that I’m not artistic enough or creative enough or, um, queer enough or trans enough or political enough…

And I find myself, y’know, looking around and wanting to ask the question: what am I doing here?


Hey, it’s Liam, and this is my fourth thought.

So, often when I tell folks what it is I do I’m met with the response: “Ah, that’s so awesome! You get to spend your time playing pretend! That must be so fun.”

And… yeah! I tell stories, I have SO much fun doing it. Um, but when I think about it… I think, actually, my favorite thing about theatre is that it offers an opportunity to tell the truth.

To take the most challenging, and the most difficult, the most uncomfortable, but the most honest things we encounter and share them with whoever’s willing to listen.


Hey, it’s Liam, and this is my third thought.

I met a new student today and when I asked him what his name was in the presence of his grandma and ah another teacher, he got really flustered and seemed super torn about what to say, and so I just asked him, “Okay, well what do you like to be called?” And the way that his face just, y’know, lit up, and it was so clear how much appreciated such a simple question, um, I found it to be ah both really beautiful and really tragic at the same time.

Y’know, as trans people we are always often, often always just so accommodating to so many people and it just has me wondering: who’s it really for and what does it even accomplish?


Hey, this is Liam, and this is my second thought.

It’s the first day back for teachers today and I was having a chat with a new colleague about, just, beginnings of things and anticipation and what other words there might be for that…

Kind of like that sick, twisted, nervous feeling when you’re, y’know, about to talk to a stranger. You go up to them and then what happens when you don’t get the nerve.

I had a professor back in theatre school who would refer to it, that feeling, as Sylvester the Cat about got pop his way through the fence. Making his way through that hole in the fence.

And then just hoping that you find what you are looking for on the other side.


Hey, it’s Liam and this is my first thought.

Uhh it is the last day of summer. And I spent it laying on the beach, my favorite beach in the world, with one of the best people I know and it was ah really sunny and really nice and warm and uhh I tried to drink a beer but I mostly just ah just laid there and was just wondering and I guess worrying ahh about what’s to come. Because it has been a minute. Umm and I think, uh I think that summertime is what saved me. That and I just keep thinking about when my Auntie Joy told me about when Hektor said “It is a good thing to give way to the night time.” Which I think is right. I think… transitions are hard.




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About the Author

Liam is a theatre artist, poet and lifelong student, always inspired by the compelling art, education and agitators found in his hometown, Winnipeg, MB. He is a show builder, storyteller, sometimes performer and often over-exaggerator. He works with all of Winnipeg’s professional theatres, and develops new work/plays as a member of Make/Shift Theatre. He loves to investigate, experiment and uncover. Using all of this as a vehicle, Liam is a persistent and dedicated advocate for representation of the LGBT2SQ+ community and the diverse communities with which it intersects.