by Lorie Lewis Ham
This Valley is overflowing with creative talent. We at KRL enjoy putting the spotlight on local performers so our readers can get to know them off the stage as well. This week we are profiling local actor Ryan David Torres.
Ryan was born and raised in Fresno. He got his first taste of acting at the tender age of nine when he auditioned for a school production of The Wizard of Oz. “I had always admired the limelight, to say the least,” said Ryan. “Fortunately, I was cast in The Wizard of Oz as The Tinman.”
However, it wasn’t until attending Clovis High School that Ryan became hooked on theatre. Some of his roles since high school include Cliff Bradshaw in Fresno State’s production of Cabaret and Mr. Webb in their production of Our Town, Mickey Marcus in The Normal Heart produced by StageWorks Fresno, and Jack Worthing in Good Company Players production of The Importance of Being Earnest.
J. Daniel Herring has directed Ryan in many of these shows. “Ryan, at his young age, is quite talented. His instincts as an actor are truthful and thoughtful. He is compelling to watch on stage, but also in the rehearsal process as he utilizes the direction he is given to build his characters.”
Ryan doesn’t yet feel like he has a favorite type of show to be in. “Still working on my perspective as an actor.” What he loves most about doing theatre is the thrill of being on stage. “The thrill that comes from being on stage in front of a live audience and giving them pieces of me they would never experience in day to day life.”
He’s found dancing to be the hardest thing for him in shows so far, but feels it’s getting easier. “Dancing always trips me up. I’ve done one show, The Absurd Masterworks, with Ruth Griffin and she has helped me find myself more as a mover.”
What Ryan feels has helped him grow the most as an actor is getting outside of his body and focusing on something more than himself. As to what he recommends to anyone wanting to be in theatre, “Train with as many people as possible and never stop training.”
Not only is Ryan involved in local theatre, and up until this semester was attending Fresno State, he also works at the Macaroni Grill–a job he truly loves. He was a host, cashier, and opera singer there, but has recently moved up to cashier trainer and also still sings for special events and anyone who asks. Balancing it all can be a great challenge. “It gets crazy.”
At the heart of Ryan’s interest in acting is his interest in understanding other people. “Who they are, where they are, what they are in. I think that’s the heart of all art.” He would love to become a professional actor and work with Shakespeare companies across the country, “and hopefully be led to Europe some day.”
“I think he’s a very talented young man with real passion and incredible potential,” shared local actor and director Chris Mangels, who has performed with Ryan in Les Miserables and The Normal Heart through StageWorks Fresno. “I have no doubt that we will eventually see him on the professional stage.”
While local actor Greg Ruud has only performed in one show with Ryan, Paint Your Wagon at Roger Rocka’s, he actually knows him more from the audience perspective. “I have seen him in so many shows and have admired his ability to play characters much older than he is with believability. In Paint Your Wagon, Ryan was without a doubt the vocal highlight of the show for me, the vocal tone and power he possesses are a pleasure, as audiences would confirm (with increasing volume) every night when he would take his bow.”
Ryan’s dream role is King Lear. “I’ve got a while before I play that octogenarian.” In his rare spare time Ryan loves to cook and play the piano. He plans to begin applying at conservatories in California soon for the fall of 2016.
For those like me who can’t wait to see Ryan on stage again, he believes Fresno State will be putting on a Shakespeare play next year and he plans on auditioning.
Check out more local arts and entertainment articles in KRL’s A & E section.