Shadow-cast 'Rocky Horror Picture Show' to premiere at East Quad

By Caroline Filips, For the Daily
Published October 26, 2014

Each Halloween, we savor our limited time to partake in costume-hunting and candy-buying, but above all, relish the yearly reemergence of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” At least, that’s what true followers do.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show

Oct. 31 and Nov. 1
8:00 p.m.

Keene Theater, East Quad

The original hyper-sexualized, partly sci-fi, over-the-top cult classic, “The Rocky Horror Show,” written by Richard O’Brien, emerged as a low-budget production in London in 1973. It later gained popularity and appeared in the U.S., where it was reincarnated on Broadway. When it reached Hollywood in 1974, the film version directed by Jim Sharman became wildly popular and has since developed a multi-generational cult following.

“Rocky Horror” focuses on the conventional characters of Brad and Janet and their unconventional adventures. After their car stalls in a rainstorm, their off-route excursions lead them to a castle that is home to the alien race, Transylvanians. The couple is quickly thrown into a delightful transsexual experience.

The dialogue is partially based on 1950s pop-culture references, many of which are called out during the show. Much of the show mimics the social transitions of the era, such as the emergence of rock itself manifesting into everyday life. A devoted fan will be one who yells out seemingly incongruous words and phrases that instantly transform the actors’ words into vulgar one-liners.

This year, The RC Players are presenting a free Halloween showing of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” The show will take place on Friday and Saturday at 8 PM in East Quad’s Keene Theater, and it’s anticipated to generate a crowd as large and lively as the Transylvanians doing the time warp.

This is the RC’s first performance of “Rocky Horror,” and LSA sophomore Katrina Hamann’s directorial debut with the shadow-casted rendition of the show.

“We’re doing a shadow-cast, so it’s not like a full show,” Hamann said. “Basically the actors are going to be pantomiming all the movements of what’s going on, on the screen behind them. The movie will be projected on the stage.”

Shadow-casting “Rocky Horror” is widely popular, as it adds an element of interaction between audience and actors and that touch of eccentricity that the show is famous for. LSA Junior Paris La Rock, cast as Magenta the maid in the show, believes that the movie will be acting as the actors shadow, not vice versa.

“What’s fun is how we lip-sync and mouth all the words which adds to that campiness,” La Rock said. “It adds to what ‘Rocky Horror’ is all about, that illusion … like man, woman, what are you? And now it’s like, who’s really singing? Is it us or is it them? It’s putting on that performance.”

Though shadow-casted versions of “Rocky Horror” are popular, Hamann designed this rendition to appeal to both “Rocky Horror” veterans and virgins alike. In true Rocky Horror spirit, she confirmed that the show will include a virgin sacrifice — a surprise to those who have never experienced the show.

“It’ll be very sexual, just adding a little bit extra,” Hamann said. “It’s all movement-based. We’re going to work with the body a lot more.”

To prepare for the musical extravaganza, Hamann experienced little difficulty finding her ideal cast. After having potential members dance to “Time Warp” and other songs, she was utterly impressed by all, but those who made the cut were comfortable with their bodies and not afraid to emulate the show’s raunchiness. She knew she wanted confident, energetic, cast-members who had no inhibitions — and that’s exactly what she got.

“Our cast is awesome and they’re all really energetic and know the show really well, so I think it’ll be very exciting,” Hamann said. “I’m just worried that the Keene won’t be able to hold enough people.”

La Rock , the Junior cast to play Magenta, anticipates a large crowd as well, who will take advantage of the holiday combined with the utter chaos of “Rocky Horror.”

“I feel like most people will come dressed up,” La Rock said. “People come with their own props, like on the screen someone says ‘a toast!’ People will throw toast, people will come with their own toasts, or water guns, or newspapers.”

Although there is controversy over the deeper meaning of “Rocky Horror” and whether or not it set out to establish its cult following, this portrayal aims to be less contrived and more about establishing a fun and carefree environment for the audience.

“It can be interpreted however you want it to,” Hamann said. “I think the bottom line is it’s supposed to make people feel good, it’s supposed to get people hyped up.”

Hamann is confident in her cast's ability to deliver an unforgettable experience.

“It’s a lot of dancing, a lot of cross-dressing, a lot of awesomeness. It’s really fun, it's kind of nonsense,” Hamann said. “It’s crazy, it’s a classic.”