Joseph Jack / The Northern View Erik Langille balances academic life with one of Udder chaos

VIDEO and Story: Don’t judge a book by its cover

Erik Langille balances academic life with one of Udder chaos

Don’t judge a book by its cover suitably describes Erik Langille.

If he’s sitting across from you in an office, you’ll find that he’s a polite, quiet, thoughtful and deliberate speaker. A young man of 18, who works hard at school and takes academics seriously. He has goals and wants to achieve them.

If he’s on stage with Hook, Line and Snicker, the city’s very own improv comedy troupe, you’ll see that he’s a wild man of theatre. Expressive, boisterous, physical and fearless, Eric is a natural on stage.

Born and raised in Prince Rupert, Langille’s desire to perform was sparked at the age of six, with a daycare performance of AC/DC’s Thunderstruck.

“I played the part, I had my guitar, had make-up on,” he said, “Not that much make-up, but it was a good time.”

“I had a blast.”

His mom, Kathy signed him up for Treena Decker’s theatre group and his love for theatre grew, eventually landing Erik a spot in his first community musical.

“It escalated until I was one of the kids in Jesus Christ Superstar,” he said, “and then doing community musicals.”

Langille appeared in The Dream Lives On, the community musical celebrating 100 years of Prince Rupert, Fiddler on The Roof in 2012, Les Misérables in 2014 and he assisted with Rock of Ages in 2016.

His experience in theatre goes beyond the stage.

Langille also has extensive experience volunteering backstage with the Harbour Theatre and the Lester Centre for the Arts.

“Sound, lighting, projection work, spotlight, everything,” he said, adding that his volunteer work at the Lester Centre turned into a summer job.

“When the technical director left [the Lester Centre], it turned into a part-time job for me,” he said.

Langille became interested in improv theatre after watching a performance by Hook, Line and Snicker, which will be performing at this year’s Udder Fest.

“Ever since I watched one of their shows, I was interested in what they did for the community,” he said, “and the laughs that they share.”

Only 15 at the time, he joined the group’s weekly practices and participated in the monthly performances.

On stage with Hook, Line and Snicker, Langille jumps from character to character, a cowboy on Mars in one scene to an old woman trying to make a kid mow her lawn in the next. He’s focused on creating characters with big voices and big movements.

Langille credits his experience with Toastmasters in helping him become a better performer overall, saying he’s applied the techniques learned to his performances.

“I’ve done many speeches, that have boosted my confidence,” he said, adding that the speeches he would give were written by himself and were meant to encourage people, persuade people or reflect upon a life lesson he’s learned.

Erik Langille is a great talent indeed, but theatre is just his hobby.

A hobby like how, at nine years old, he would make homemade movies with friends and family, using his dad’s computer and video editing software to tell stories.

“I definitely plan on continuing theatre as a hobby, and as something I can always look forward to,” he said, “It’s a positive part of my life.”

This fall, Langille will begin studying engineering at UBC. He was awarded a Rotary scholarship for his academic achievements and his commitment to community.

“The future is looking bright,” he said. “I plan to become an engineer and pursue a different passion I have.”

“It’s different from drama, but it’s still a huge part of my life.”

Langille said he looks to the future with optimism and has entrepreneurial aspirations. He has hopes to start his own business one day.

“The idea of starting my own business is very appealing to me,” he said, “Maybe an engineering consulting firm, or project management.”

Like a salmon heading out to the ocean toward the great unknown, Erik has an exciting future ahead of him but remains very grounded.

Before the interview ended, he wanted to be sure to thank the people that helped him along the way.

“My mom and dad have been very supportive, also my brother,” he said, “He’s a great bro.”

“Crystal Lorette at the Lester Centre, Allison O’Toole, my high school drama teacher,” he said, “Michael Gurney was a mentor to me, James Carlson (former technical director at the Lester Centre) and Lyle [McNish] and Treena [Decker] from The Harbour Theatre.”