Imagine a show where the audience can dress up in costume, throw rice during the show and scream obscenities at cast members. Normally, this behavior might land an audience member in trouble — but not when the play is The Rocky Horror Show. It’s because of all of this bizarre behavior that makes Rocky Horror a hugely successful Halloween tradition.
Just ask senior Chris Taylor, a double psychology and English major and veteran of The Rocky Horror Show. Taylor will be seeing the performance at Bucks County Playhouse for his third year in a row.
“It’s a very comfortable setting where anything can happen and you allow it to happen,” he said.
The plot centers upon a young innocent couple, Brad and Janet, who break down in an isolated area and go to the only nearby house, which happens to be the residence of Dr. Frank-N-Furter, a “sweet transvestite from Transsexual, Transylvania.” We follow Brad and Janet deep into Frank-N-Furter’s bizarre, sexually charged world as they meet strange characters and eventually transform into liberated individuals from the conservative world they were used to.
The musical production, first performed in London in 1973, was later transformed into a musical parody of horror/science fiction films in 1975 in a film starring Tim Curry and Susan Sarandon. It took a year after it premiered before it gained its cult classic status.
Senior Kerri Silva, a longtime Rocky Horror fan, said that having such a status helped the play become a huge audience participation event.
“[It’s] not something everyone is going to love, but the people who do just love it to an extreme,” she said.
Now, Bucks County Playhouse in New Hope, Pa., about 30 minutes from Rider, has taken the original idea of performing it as a musical play and combined it with the audience participation from the film version to create an exciting experience that audiences are bound to enjoy.
According to Taylor, there is a key difference between the movie and the show: two-way ineractions. In the play, audience members are encouraged to participate, yelling comments at the actors during certain scenes.
“You actually can get yelled back at by the characters,” Taylor said.
In one particular showing, Taylor recalls an audience member arguing back and forth with Frank-N-Furter, which lasted for several minutes.
“My favorite part of the musical is when the character makes a toast which starts a three-to-five minute long toast-throwing battle between the audience and the characters on stage,” Taylor said.
The live show can be a bit of a surprise for newcomers; the Bucks County Playhouse site recommends that first-time participants do a little research before attending. One of those Rocky Horror newcomers is Carla Fernandez, a senior Secondary Education and English major.
“I’ve heard a lot of good things about it and want to see how it will come across being live,” she said. “I’m expecting to see a lot of crazy outfits and flying objects.”
The Rocky Horror Show will have three midnight showings on Oct. 26-27 and Nov. 3. The remaining shows will be held at 8 p.m. on Oct. 30 through Nov. 3. Audience members are allowed to bring rice, newspapers, small water guns and toast. Tickets are $27 and can be purchased online or at the box office.