commentary by Taylor Corley, Campus Carrier arts and living editor
Rome Little Theater hosted a screening of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” on Oct. 25 and certainly did not disappoint in providing a comical, rousing and unforgettable experience.
“The Rocky Horror Picture Show” is the world’s longest continuously showing movie that makes an appearance in live theaters across the world every weekend. The show consists of the 1975 film playing behind a live shadow cast who engages the audience with costumes, callback lines and props.
As I’ve gotten older and started to outgrow the socially acceptable trick-or-treating age, I have been worried about finding a Halloween tradition that would bring me as much joy as dressing-up like anything I could imagine and filling a pillowcase to the brim with candy and the occasional popcorn filled glove.
Spooky season is by far my favorite season, and I needed a new tradition to satisfy my inner wild child. What better way than with raunchy scripts, catchy music and flashy costumes?
First time viewers who attend a showing of RHPS are referred to as “virgins.” It’s easy to spot the virgins because they’re usually overdressed, meaning they’re wearing clothes as opposed to gold spandex, fishnet stockings or leather corsets, and flaunt a red V on their foreheads.
As a virgin myself, I was not prepared for the mania I was about to encounter. My night was full of singing, dancing and screaming “He’s got no neck!” or “A chicken stepped on this man’s forehead!” every time the narrator stepped on stage.
The show is not for people who shy away from audience participation and the first thing all virgins must remember to bring with them is a sense of humor. But to really impress the returning viewers I suggest bringing confetti, newspapers, a mini water gun, a flashlight, playing cards, toilet paper, rubber gloves, a party hat and a bell.
This packing list may sound like a disaster waiting to happen, but everything makes sense for the most part once the show begins.
The props are a way to bring the show to life. When the main characters, Brad and Janet, get caught in a rainstorm, members of the audience squirt water into the air (or at each other) to emulate a rainstorm. At one point another character, Dr. Scott, walks on stage and Brad cries out “Great Scott!” This is when you should throw rolls of toilet paper into the air, preferably Scotts toilet paper.
This is only a preview of all the entertainment that RHPS has to offer. I was only slightly lost and confused at the beginning of the show just like any other virgin, and I definitely shouted the wrong callbacks every now and then, but by the end I fit right in just like the other returnees.
RHPS etiquette is easy to pick up on and the show is designed to embrace any newcomers. I found that the best way to fully experience RHPS is to jump right in with full participation.
The show is geared towards audiences over 18 years old because the dialogue contains profanity and many of the themes explored in the show such as as sex, gender ambiguity and sexuality, may be harder for younger audiences to grasp.
However, if you are of age, I highly recommend losing your RHPS virginity soon because the experience is more than just watching a movie. The show has established a fun-loving community and become a safe space for viewers to participate in the singing and dancing while having a genuinely good time.