Fusing Film and Theater: Rocky Horror Picture Show

Halloween is just on the horizon, and all your time spent watching horror films will come to a climax. It is a time to delve into the taboo, the strange, dark, and unusual, to face your fears with a room full of friends and laps full of snacks. It is certainly a worthy activity, but it it is what you are doing, I will recommend something a little different.

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I am a part of The Players Society, and independent theater club on campus. Our Rocky Horror Picture Show shadowcast is an annual event, amongst our other performances for charity. This is the first and last time I will participating as a Transylvanian in this show at Chapman. I worked as tech last year, assisting in moving props and quick changes, and ending up dancing to the music backstage. Beautiful friends wearing corsets and fishnets yelled call backs, while the mains reenacted the characters on screen. The stage was a humble one, but the costumes endowed them with a decadence of glamour. Minimal sets served to emphasize the actors, and allowed active audience participation.

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I decided to break out of my shell in my senior year and audition, inspired by the fun I’d had. Rocky Horror was a cult film ahead of its time, opening representation to sexual liberation through androgyny and homoeroticism. It was an homage to classic horror and scifi films, updating it with colorful camp and catchy music, while still maintaining genuine notes of emotion and feeling. The screening provided a safe haven for misfits and punks to congregate during a conservative era. The film’s relevance has lasted to today, and though it is no longer alone as an outlet for nonconformists. It was still an awakening for me, to feel brave enough to wear in lingerie and make up in front of strangers.

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Theater and live performances used to be society’s main source of entertainment until a new medium had people stare quietly at a screen for a few hours. Shadowcasts like this are a part of a theatrical attempt to bring back audience participation through a familiarity with a particular piece of art. It’s interesting as a writer to see how work can be expressed simultaneously, how the uniform visuals of the film, and the spontaneous nature of theater makes unique experience every night.

Come see Rocky Horror Picture Show in Irvine Lecture Hall at today and tomorrow at 7:00 pm for $5.

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