The University of Redlands Artists’ Collective (URAC) had massive success with their production of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Transylvanians, time warps, and general hilarity drew Rocky veterans and virgins alike to the Orton Center on Oct. 28.
Rocky Horror has been a cult classic since the film’s release in 1975, and the campy, vivacious screenings have become a tradition nationwide. Typically, Rocky Horror is put on with the addition of a shadow cast, or a group of people who perform the show in front of a screen while the movie is playing in the background.
Those unfamiliar to the vibrant ritual are labeled as “virgins,” and tagged with a lipstick-drawn ‘V’ on their cheek to emphasize their naivety to the Rocky Horror culture.
“I had no idea what to expect,” said former Rocky virgin and freshman Holly Bobo. “I was shocked by how fun, crazy, and weirdly entertaining the show was.”
With the guidance of University seniors Sarah Smallman and Sarah Baca, the URAC production was created in about three weeks.
“Dan Burfeind reached out to clubs and asked for R-Night ideas, and Amanda Speidel brought up Rocky… I had been wanting to put on Rocky for a while,” Smallman stated. “I’ve seen it done live … and I had a vision of how to get it done.”
“[Rehearsal was] very fast-paced. We didn’t have much time so we had to work quickly to get everything done,” said junior Jenna Thurman, who played Eddie.
“Every day was unique,” added sophomore Angie Petschek, who was cast as Dr. Everett Scott. “We made new discoveries every day, and every rehearsal brought the cast closer together.”
URAC’s decision to put on Rocky was a large venture with only a few weeks to cast, rehearse, and perform the show, but both the audience and performers were enthralled with the event.
By showtime, the event’s seats were filled with audience members dressed in glittery getups and cherry red lipstick. Newspapers and playing cards were spread out on tables as props to use during the performance. People were snapping selfies with their iPhones and buzzing with anticipation.
“I’m not sure what I was expecting,” remarked Thurman. “But it turned out amazing. Some [cast members] were afraid we wouldn’t fill the audience, but we ended up needing more chairs.”
On the night of the show, the cast shamelessly prodded around Orton in corsets and underwear.
“I was nervous before we started, but with a show like this you have the audience rooting for you.” said Thurman. “They are yelling and laughing with you so it’s kind of like everyone is performing.”
“Once the show started, and I heard people cheering us on … I completely lost all embarrassment. Regardless of the fascinating costumes, I felt very accepted and connected to the cast as well as the audience,” added Petschek.
After the show, junior Lise Bryn, who played the title character in the shadow cast remarked “I will never have any shame, ever again.”
URAC’s production of Rocky was a huge hit, with an inclusive cast and engaged audience. The production featured not only theatre students, but music students, Johnston students, athletes, and more. Additionally, working with R-Nights allowed Rocky to get a bigger venue.
If you missed Rocky this year, have no fear.
“We are planning to make [Rocky] an annual event!” declared Smallman. “Dan said it was the most attended R-Night we’ve had this year.”
So, if you love Rocky, keep a look out for auditions next year or join URAC for more information.
“I think the fact that Rocky is such a cult classic made everyone excited when they heard that we were doing it,” remarked Smallman. “Overall, I think everyone’s dedication to help make the show happen is what made it a success.”
[photos contributed by Charles Convos]