On Friday, Oct. 19, Maryville College’s Alpha Psi Omega Chapter and PRIDE: Maryville College Gender and Sexuality Alliance collectively hosted a screening of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” complete with a live shadow cast, and it was a sight to behold. Such a simple statement doesn’t quite encompass just what all occurred late that night.
Held in the Harold and Jean Lambert Recital Hall, there was a decent sized line already formed when they opened the doors around 9:30 p.m. Because audience members were given bags full of items for the customary participation that comes with the show, just entering the space already felt rather exciting. If you had never seen the show live before, you could even get a show virgin identifier, a red “V’ drawn onto your forehead with red lipstick, the perfect color.
That recital hall was practically full by the time everyone had picked their seats, and the turnout was actually about 235 people in all. The room was surely full of antici—pation, but the virgin sacrifices had to be made. First, Allison Parton, director of the show, confidently entered the stage to let us know that everyone was welcome there, no matter what. She then went on to conduct the rather amusing tradition, making sure they were rightly prepared for what was to come.
With the start of “Science Fiction/Double Feature” led by Diamond Cronan and four usherettes, the show was on and sexually charged as ever. The following scene of Brad and Janet, played by Walter Freshour and Bailee Burleson, moves smoothly through “Dammit Janet.” Of course, that is until they find themselves caught with a flat. As Brad and Janet wander through the velvet darkness, everyone pulls out their newspapers to join in.
From the stage, Lexi Douglas as Riff Raff watches them struggle through the rain, moving ever so appropriately for the character. With time fleeting, Riff Raff then subjects the unsuspecting couple to the “Time Warp” dance, which was the height of audience participation.
With nearly everyone dancing along and instructions from the Criminologist, portrayed by Lindsey Lively, it was a blast. Once Dr. Frank-N-Furter, played by Lenny Lively, shows up, all hell breaks loose in the best way possible. A pivotal moment in the storyline, Lively’s debut sets the bar for the remainder of the show, and it doesn’t disappoint.
So, where is that man with blonde hair and a tan anyway? The ensemble aids in carrying the tank containing Jane DeLozier as Rocky to center stage. Though Lively does a fabulous job at fiddling with invisible nozzles to activate Rocky, the wait for the reveal feels like the longest moment. When DeLozier emerges, muscles abound, the audience seems a little wild with satisfaction.
As the show progresses, the general excitement from the audience never diminishes. No good kid, Eddie, played by Maren Daniels, arrives on the scene with hasty, yet needed destruction, but he doesn’t last very long. When it comes time for Lively to sneak into some beds late at night, the prop utilized replicates the look of the bed canopies and silhouette effect seen in the film rather well.
Swiftly wheeled onto stage, Dr. Everett Scott, portrayed by Rachael Weaver, provides some ironic, comedic relief once Serenity Shalander as Columbia realizes Eddie’s corpse is being served for dinner. When it comes to the final number before his questionable demise, “I’m Going Home” resonates through the space as Lively interacts with some audience members in the front row.
Playing cards fly through the air as “cards for sorrow, cards for pain,” but before anyone even knows it, the show is over. Finished with some final words preformed from the middle of the audience, Lively is revived by DeLozier and everyone else makes it out alive. Parton returns to help the audience give it up for the cast, and she says they even improvised during the last song. Seeing “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” with a shadow cast is a slightly wild but wonderful experience.
You can’t help but be captivated by the shadow cast over the actual film playing in the background. With Parton’s message before the start, the film itself as a whole, and the cast members, the show definitely felt like it was being put on for all the right reasons. It really created a welcoming, very fun environment for all kinds, and the cast did a fantastic job.
I personally can’t wait to see and participate in next year’s rendition. It’s likely safe to say I’m not the only one. “Let’s do the Time Warp again!”