Another fresh face on the Twenty-Something Theatre scene is Jeremy Leroux, who will be playing "Curt" in Blue Surge (which opens this week, I might add!). Jeremy was most recently seen in Doubt with the North Vancouver Community Players, in which he tackled the controversial role of "Father Flynn". I sat down with Jeremy a couple of weeks ago for a good ol' cup of coffee and chat.
Tell me about a memorable performance that just stands out for you.
I think the most memorable for me would be when I first saw Miss Saigon in Seattle. I loved the production – it was fantastic. A friend bought me tickets and we went down to Seattle to see it. I loved the music and that aspect of things. Everything was top notch. You always find characters where you’re like, “Ooo I’d love to play that one day,” type of thing. So “Chris” in Miss Saigon is on my list.
What has been your favourite role to date?
My favourite role to date was the last one I did, which was “Father Flynn” in Doubt. It was a very big role, one I could really cut my teeth with, and do a lot with. It was also another one of those roles where I watched the movie and saw Philip Seymour Hoffman play it and I was like, “There’s another one of those roles!” For me, that was a total dream come true, being able to play that and I really enjoyed that.
What was your “Aha! I want to be an actor.” moment?
I started off in music, so I started taking voice lessons to better myself in my singing. Through that I was introduced more to musical theatre pieces. I started auditioning for musicals and I just kind of put it out there. It was in 2005 that I did my first show with Pipedream – I did Sweet Charity and I loved it. After that, I did another show with Raving Theatre, it was called Jeffrey. Immediately after that I was like, “I really like doing this!” (laughs) So whether it be musicals or straight plays, I was just kind of hooked from there.
If you were to audition for a musical right now what would be your audition song?
I actually am going to be auditioning for Fighting Chance and I’m going to be doing “Being Alive” and then also, from Miss Saigon, “Why God Why”.
Excellent songs. I love both of those! So what have been some of the highs and lows you’ve experienced as an actor?
I guess I’ve been doing this seriously now for two years so there have been times where I some film and television auditions. My first film and television audition I had, I got because I was a look-alike for the younger version of a character or something like that. And then I totally messed it up. I remember going into the room and I was kind of acting at the director and not towards the camera when I think back. So I’m thinking, yeah they probably only saw the side of me and the reader was probably wondering what the heck I was doing. It’s a live and learn thing. As far as the highs, I mean I would say anytime I get to be onstage. I would also say working on Doubt and it was the biggest role I’d had to date. Everybody at North Vancouver Community Players was really awesome. It was a pretty fantastic experience.
Tell me about your character, “Curt” and can you relate to him or not relate to him?
In some areas I can relate to “Curt”. For me, the hardest part has been relating to the socio-economic background that he comes from because I don’t come from that. I am probably closer to “Beth” in that aspect. I can relate to him trying to do things and trying to help people. For me, I think it’s important that “Curt” doesn’t become the victim of the play. He does act, and he makes mistakes, and he “louses stuff up” to quote some of the other sayings. And that’s what he does and it’s not because he’s not trying to do the best, or what he think is going to be the best, for people. You have to feel for him.
Why do you think people should come and see Blue Surge?
I think it’s a really honest portrayal. It’s very truthful. The writing is great and the fights we have, they are real fights. They’re structured as such. For me, when I want to go see something, oftentimes that is what I find is the most real. For instance, I was just in London and I saw Billy Elliot and I saw a couple of other plays. Billy Elliot really stood out to me as being really awesome because of the fact that it had so much heart and it was so real. That’s why I go to theatre and what I want to see. I want it to be real and I want it to touch me. For Blue Surge I hope it touches a lot of people.
Without giving too much away, what is one of your favourite moments in Blue Surge?
(Laughs). Umm, well the work they’ve done on the second scene, that I’m not in but I’ve gotten to see, I think it’s pretty awesome. I think they’ve just done a really great job with it. Chris and Tara have done awesome. It’s one of my favourite scenes in the play, for sure. For me, I mean a good fight’s always good and I have a few of those. I mean it’s always kind of fun to get into it with someone and to have that level of trust with someone that you can really go at it. I really enjoy that, when you get lost in it. That’s what I hope to do throughout the whole thing.
What advice would you have for someone just starting out as an actor?
I think it’s important to realize that even if they’re just starting out that it really is just a start. I mean I just finished my six month program and that was what I realized. It’s just a start and it keeps going. I’ve said it to a few people, and people have said it to me. I don’t know why actors think they’re going to be good after just a year or two years. It takes ten years to get good at anything else. You have to keep the training up. You have to keep working on it. Do it because you love doing it, because there’s no other reason to do it! (We both laugh) In a nutshell, it’s a lot of work that you put into it, but there’s so much that you can get out of it. It doesn’t end after your first class or school. It keeps going so keep working at it and keep plugging away. It not always easy but it’s always, in my opinion, worth it.
You can catch Jeremy this week in Blue Surge, which runs from August 24th - September 5th at Studio 16. Tickets may be purchased from Tickets Tonight or by calling the box office at 604.684.2787.
~ Sarah MacKay