Most showings of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” are, like many Halloween activities, done out of obligation to the holiday rather than actual desire to express the anarchic, liberated feeling of the show. The screening on Oct. 19 in the Presentation Theater, starring the College Players’ live shadow cast, was not one of these shows. Though it is a long running tradition, the performance felt as lively as a Rocky “virgin” attending their first show.
Typical of Rocky, the show didn’t start until far after the listed time. The lines of both ticket holders and hopefuls snaked around the hallways of the Education Building. The house was quickly packed with students in various stages of undress, filling the balcony and auditorium with jovial corset and lingerie-clad bodies who had to shove to get seats.
The College Players’ executive board introduced the production and the cast and remarked that this is the 155th season that the student theater organization has been in business. The College Players are the oldest continuously-operating student theater organization on the West Coast and have been arranging Rocky annually since 2005, when it started as a fundraiser for Hurricane Katrina relief.
After this introduction, the virgins (aka, those attending the show for the first time) were called to the stage to play in the “V-games” — a series of exciting, quasi-humiliating physical challenges that change with every show, but may possibly include giving a lap dance in the style of your favorite animal. This unusually large crowd of virgins took to the challenges admirably.
More informal than other productions by the College Players, this rendition of Rocky was full of energy and depravity. As the cult-favorite movie played on a screen over the cast’s heads, the audience watched a precise reenactment of the key scenes and all the classic songs. There was, of course, shouting whatever bizzare profanities best fit the scene in question. It had the feeling of a family screening. This was a more intimate show than what would be experienced with a professional, paid cast. Rocky with the College Players just felt like a bunch of talented friends getting together to perform, which is the best feeling a show can have.
It is the responsibility of every fan to attend as many viewings of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” as they can, and seeing the College Players production is an experience every USF student should undertake.
Listen to the related Foghorn podcast episode here.