Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Rocky Horror Show sparkled up Halloween

Of all the famous Broadway productions, there isn’t a scarier or spookier musical production than the 1975 British-American classic “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”. This year’s Rocky Horror show cast and crew at Plattsburgh State took the stage on Oct. 28 for an exciting, well-dressed and scantily-clad audience.

A comedic tribute to science fiction and horror movies of the late 1940s and early 1970s, The Rocky Horror Picture Show is the story of Brad Majors and Janet Weiss, a newly-wed couple, who stumble upon the home of the infamous cross-dressing transvestite scientist Dr. Frank-N-Furter as their car breaks down in the middle of a dark storm. As Frank holds the couple hostage for the night, he reveals his newest creation of life, a perfect and muscled yet Frankenstein-like man called “Rocky Horror.” The show then follows the cast’s crazy antics, and how each character changes dramatically by the end of the entire performance.

PSUC performs Rocky Horror every fall semester, specifically for the Halloween season. A new cast of creepy characters is featured in every show, so no two years of Rocky are the same.

Rocky Horror comes with a major cult following, so many members of the audience were dressed in their craziest costumes. Before the show started, the director of the musical called anyone who had not seen a Rocky Horror performance before onto the stage, dubbing them as “Rocky virgins.” After saying a pledge of transexual pride (placing one hand on their heart and the other on their genitals), they were escorted back to their seats, and the show officially began.

All the major songs were sung and choreographed with classics like “Science Fiction Double Feature”, “Time Warp”, “Dammit Janet”, and “Toucha Me.” Without any complex set designs in the background or complicated props, the show was done quite well. Members of the ensemble, or “Phantoms”, were sometimes the props and sets themselves, such as Majors and Weiss’s car or the doors to Dr. Frank-N-Furter’s castle. Their costumes, like Majors’s Robin boxer shorts that were exposed during the play, were extravagant but also individualized for not only the character but the actor. Angel Martinez, who played the iconic role of Frank-N-Furter, put an unique spin on the flamboyant character, showing off flexibility by jumping into a split several times during the show.

Aside from minor microphone and lighting issues, the performance was interactive and exciting to watch. However, it isn’t for the audience member who is faint of heart or easily offended.

One of the major themes of Rocky Horror is the rejection of heterosexual normalities and binary gender norms. In order to challenge these, the cast is required to speak curse words, perform theatrical sex scenes and even remove pieces of their clothing. During the performance, there were even some cast members planted in the audience and were told to shout jokes and crazy one-liners in between the actor’s lines, as small additions to the play’s comedy. Even though this could be seen as a distraction from the main storyline, it didn’t seem to bother the rest of the actors onstage who knew the actions of the show inside and out.

Although I was a “Rocky virgin” myself, I had followed the fan base and knew about the controversial aspects of the play before attending the show. If someone had gone to the show and not known anything about the “legend” of Rocky Horror, they probably would’ve been confused or wouldn’t have enjoyed it as much as someone who knew the songs and storylines, maybe even by heart.

Explicit language, sexual dance numbers and dark humor might not be for everyone, but for the majority of the audience at PSUC, this year’s Rocky Horror Picture Show seemed to be a big hit for just the right type of people that night in Glitz Auditorium. Until next year, Rocky Horror will do the timewarp again with another new cast to kick off another spooky Halloween at PSUC.

Email Emma Vallelunga at opinions@cardinalpointsonline.com

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