Arts & Entertainment
2 min

THEATRE: Ryan G Hinds tries drag

Toronto entertainer in show at De Colores Festival of New Works

It may be surprising to learn that Ryan G Hinds has never performed in drag. Until now. The flamboyant cabaret entertainer and actor is well known for his liberal use of marabou feathers, glitter and sequins. But when it comes to full-on female impersonation, he opts to leave the tucking panties to the pros.
“I have so much respect for drag queens, but I’ve never wanted to take it on because there are already a lot who are way better at it than I could ever be,” he says. “My work often blurs gender lines, so I’m comfortable in high heels and makeup. But as a theatre artist, I have the opportunity to paint in colours that drag may not afford me.”
Despite this, he’s giving drag a go in a performance of Martha Chaves’s Staying Alive. Loosely based on the celebrated lesbian comic’s own life, it tells the story of a young political refugee (Maria Del Mar) who is struggling to adjust to a new life in Canada, having lost a parent. She is watched over by a trio of drag-queen fairy godmothers (José Arias, Jonathan Morton-Shuster and Hinds).  
“Martha has a real comedic gift, so the fact the show is hilarious probably won’t come as a surprise to anyone,” Hinds says. “But it’s also a very touching work. The experience of losing one or both of your parents is something everyone will have to experience at one point or another. It’s the kind of piece a lot of people can connect to, whether they are queer, an immigrant or neither.”
While Hinds has done an array of high-femme roles in productions like Hedwig and the Angry Inch and the multimedia performance Tightrope, by Montreal’s, he’s often found his greatest satisfaction in the parts furthest from who he is. At this year’s Toronto Fringe Festival he was offered a role as a masculine closeted bi dude struggling to come to terms with his sexuality in Natalia Goodwin’s Here You Are.
“I really appreciate that kind of challenge as an actor, and I like it when a director is willing to take a risk on me in that way,” he says. “There’s a voice in your head the whole time saying that maybe you can’t do it. But there’s a part of me that always wants that in everything I do. It keeps you surprised and challenged and engaged with your work.”  

The Deets:

De Colores Festival of New Works
Thurs, Oct 6 & Fri, Oct 7 at 8pm
Theatre Direct’s Wychwood Theatre
601 Christie St (at St Clair Ave W)