Zac Williams takes to Vancouver Fringe with Blockhead, his perceptive new comedy about the pains of growing up. In our latest blog, get to know the man behind this masterpiece and why his comedy showcase is ideal for one and all.
Briefly introduce yourself/your company…
I am an elementary teacher with a side hustle in the acting world. I grew up in the small town of Caledonia, Ontario and was a super shy kid. My first performance was at my grade 3 Christmas concert in the school gymnasium. I played Santa Claus and talked so quietly not a single person heard a word I said – not even Rudolph two feet away from me on stage. Thankfully, I redeemed myself in grade 7 when I did improv for the first time and made my classmates laugh. From that moment on I took every chance I could get to perform. I attended McMaster University and whilst all my housemates were vying for spots in med school, I took every elective I had in theatre (sorry, Mom!). I moved to Vancouver in 2018 to attend teachers’ college at UBC and I fell in love with the west coast lifestyle.
What is it that makes your work/company unique?
I think my work offers a humorous perspective on some of the burdens that younger generations are carrying in society, or what I call “millennial anxieties about the future.” It is truly a one-man show, so the story and the character both draw on my personal experiences. As a gay person I’ve often felt that “coming out” was a subversion of all of societies expectations. It was both freeing and terrifying; because once you carve your own path, you also leave behind the comfort of the well-worn script of life. That fear of the unknown is a big theme in the show and although my writing comes from a uniquely queer perspective, I think it’s a theme anyone can relate to.
What kind of experience do you hope audiences will have during your show?
Mostly I hope they laugh! I think the show will be full of belly laughs, but also sprinkled with moments that catch you off guard and make you stop and reflect and ponder – and then get you right back to laughing again.
Without spoilers, tell us what you think audiences will remember most about your show?
The show is told from the perspective of a five year old and so I think that audience members will remember the little moments of childhood wonder. I think it will be a bit of a trip down memory lane and a chance to recall how magical the world is when you’re five. Everything is bigger when you’re five; scary things are scarier, funny things are funnier, sad things are sadder. The show dives around into all different themes and ideas much like how a five year old brain jumps from one thing to the next.
What do you think is the best thing about the Fringe?
I think the best part about Fringe is that it offers an entry point for all artists, and so you get the chance to see some really unconventional storytelling as well as stories from perspectives that are not often featured in mainstream media. The result is that you might walk into a show with no prior expectations of what it’s going to be like, and then leave an hour later completely floored by laughter, tears, or the question, “What did I just watch?”
What is the most important thing you hope audiences will take away from your show?
The biggest takeaway I can hope for an audience to have is that they leave the theatre with a sense of optimism that comes from taking a bit of time to reconnect with their inner child and have a good laugh!