The Featured Players

Featured Player: Jean-Remy Monnay

Jean-Remy MonnayIn our  Featured Player posts, we highlight someone who is important to Soul Rebel Performance Troupe. Our first Featured Player is Jean-Remy Monnay, co-founder  of Soul Rebel Performance Troupe.

Jean-Remy Monnay was born in Haiti. His mother moved overseas when he was about 8 years old and left him and his other two siblings in a small town in Haiti name Ville Bonheur (Saut-D’eau) in the hands of his wonderful step grand-mother. Remy, as a little boy, was very active in theatre, doing Shakespeare and reading poetry on stage in his native tongue, French. In 1982, at the age of 18, he moved to New York. He was disappointed because he hoped he would continue his education and his acting career in French. He thought that his theatre dream was history. America is a new beginning and he must learn English. But, how long will that take? He joined a Haitian Theater Troupe and performed in French and Creole, traveling to Montreal and other French and Creole speaking communities. Although he enjoyed performing with the Haitian Troupe, Remy wanted to spread his talent. He wanted to perform for the American community; not just for a small community. But he didn’t speak the language and besides, who would cast a Haitian man with a thick accent?

In 1997, while working for DOCS, he decided to move from Brooklyn to the Capital Region. He took a break from theatre for about two years but, in early 1999, he decided not to let language and or anything else get in his way of becoming an English speaking stage actor. He enrolled in Schenectady Community College to study performing arts in English. He knew he had to perform in English; acting is what he does best. He performed a few short plays in English in classrooms and even did some directing. He studied hard and volunteered in Community Theatre to get his name out there.

In late 1999, a friend encouraged him to audition for the Hubbard Hall Theatre Company in Cambridge, NY (a scary thought). He met Kevin McGuire, the resident Artistic Director who detected an accent and asked him if he spoke French. Remy said “yes.” Kevin himself is a lover of the French language. He speaks French and often vacations in Paris. They clicked. The audition was actually a conversation with Kevin McGuire. Two days later, Kevin offered Remy a part in his first major production at the theatre, “Saint Joan”. “Could that be possible? Is this a dream?” He recalled saying to himself. February of 2000 was the beginning of a resurrection of a shattered dream. Remy auditioned in almost every theatre in the Capital Region and elsewhere. He never said “NO” for small parts. He even drove 1 ½ hours each way to New Paltz, NY for rehearsals in snow and ice. He wanted to build his reputation, make a name for himself; be known. He wanted to be recognized as an actor; not an actor with a Haitian accent. Although he loves his accent and works really hard to keep it, it means he has to work harder than the other actors. When practicing his lines, he gets his friends to help him to make sure he pronounces each word perfectly and even records the play so he can listen to it while driving. Remy believes a perfect practice makes an immaculate performance. So he goes for a perfect practice every time. Critics have often referred to his performance as simply “FANTASTIC”

From February of 2000 to the present time, Jean-Remy has been in over 45 plays, films, commercials and a documentary for the History Channel. The following are just a few of the plays he’s been in: Of Mice and Men; O’ Fathomless Love; Trip Cinch; The Boys Next Doors; One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest; A Few Good Men; Man of la Mancha; The Mad Woman of Chaillot; To Kill a Mockingbird; Peter Pan; Androcles and the Lion; Alice in Wonderland (he played the White Rabbit); The Exonerated and many many more. He appeared in many of Starzyk Plays Productions, including Murder at the Whetherfield, After Death and Vatican 3G and many, many more.

Remy is the Co-founder of Soul Rebel Performance Troupe, a NYS capital Region theatrical outlet for minorities.