A performer with frequent film and television appearances on shows such as The Handmaid’s Tale, Nikita, Beauty & The Beast, and The Fourth Plague has been commanding the Classic Theatre Festival stage as a woman fighting for her very survival in the mystery thriller I’ll Be Back Before Midnight, which plays until September 10 at 54 Beckwith Street East in Perth.
Born and raised in Saskatchewan – “they call it the land of living skies for good reason and believe me, it more than lives up to its name,” she says – Lauren Horejda plays the role of Jan, a woman who, recovering from a nervous breakdown, has been brought to a spooky old country farmhouse by her sometimes less than sensitive husband, Greg (Lindsay Robinson). What follows is much like a Hitchcock film, a combination of humour and horror in which the esteemed Capital Critics Circle says Horejda “delivers a fine multi-faceted characterization that balances fragility and determination.”
Horejda recalls her first performance was as an angel in a Christmas pageant, and while she cannot say exactly what drew her to acting, “I can say it always felt right where I was supposed to be.” After completing an honours undergraduate degree, she studied at some of the world’s leading theatrical training academies, including the UK’s Bristol Old Vic and Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
Among some of her favourite roles along the way have been playing Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler (Horejda is a major Ibsen fan) and Mercutio in The Deliverance of Romeo and Juliet. She’s also picked up best acting nominations two years in a row from My Entertainment World for her performances in Hamlet and The Changeling.
Playing Jan in I’ll Be Back before Midnight is a demanding role, as she is onstage for almost the whole show in an experience that many audience members describe as akin to a rollercoaster ride, providing thrills followed by anticipation and constant building of tension. Horejda says the role actually requires “decompression over preparation once the lights are dark and the audience has gone home. Jan is such a vessel of love and hope within the play. She wants nothing but the best and to take care of those she cares about, but she is put through so much within the play. So, it’s mostly checking in with myself and shedding the after-effects of Jan and everything that she has to go through that needs the most attention – shaking it off.”
Horejda is fond of Jan’s “unshakeable faith in those that she loves. It’s incredibly admirable, especially living in a world where people write each other off so frequently over so little.”
The Toronto-based actor says she’s loved her time in Perth this summer. “It’s been a beautiful place to come and relax and work on this fabulous play with a lovely and warm cast, a brilliant production team, and a wonderfully talented, thoughtful and insightful director. It’s been such fantastic experience for me to ride this ride with these beautiful souls.”
Those wishing to catch the final performances of I’ll Be Back before Midnight (playing Tuesday to Sunday at 2 pm, with 8 pm shows Wednesday and Saturday at 8 pm) can get tickets at 1-877-283-1283 or ticketsplease.ca