DRIVING WITH RUSTY
a film by Jeffrey Round
ON-LINE PRESS KIT
In 1992, performer Rusty Ryan opened
at the Fringe of Toronto Festival in Driving To Tatamagouche, a
one-person stage show. Ryan was a
well-known drag artist and former protégé of Craig Russell. He appeared
in the movies Outrageous, Too Outrageous! and 54,
among others. He was a founding member of The Great Imposters, a female
impersonator troupe that toured Canada in the ’70s and ’80s.
The stage show was a metaphorical
journey in the form of a cooking show hosted by a Julia Child-wannabee
named Ginger LaRue (French for “the Red Street,” as Ginger blithely
informs us.) The audience watches Ginger whip up “a little something” to
take to his sister's wedding in Tatamagouche. Of course, it's more than
just a cake (it turns out to be a Chocolate-Orange Chapeau.) And
they're not just any old stories we hear, as Ginger dispenses homespun
wisdom along with tales of being a small-town queer with big town
visibility in rural Nova Scotia.
The show was cited in the Globe And
Mail as being among the ten most interesting fringe shows that year
and became an unofficial hit of the festival. Afterwards, director
Jeffrey Round began a series of preliminary interviews with Ryan,
intending to make a documentary on his life and career. The project
remained unfinished at the time of Ryan’s death in 2003.
In 2009, Round began piecing together
archival footage from the stage show with the existing interview material
to make Driving With Rusty. Despite the primitive quality of the
footage, the work stands as a tribute to the life and talent of Rusty
Ryan, the big man with an even bigger heart.
DRIVING WITH RUSTY
Based on the original Fringe of Toronto Festival production “Driving To
Tatamagouche,” presented at The Poor Alex Theatre June 26 to July 5, 1992
Starring The “Outrageous” Rusty Ryan.
Produced, written, directed and edited by Jeffrey Round
Technical production by Shane McConnell
Film/video footage by Lisa Logan and Arnon Melo
Original stage production produced by Jeffrey Round and John Davison for
Best Boys Productions
Original set design by John Davison
Costumes and accessories by Michael Daniel Designs
© 2010, 1992.