A crowd gathers outside Russell Auditorium Halloween night.
It was a mass of outrageous costumes, teased hair and bare skin, the likes of which this campus hasn’t seen since exactly one year ago at the last showing of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”
This year marks GC’s sixth-annual Rocky Horror show, thanks to the Clarke Street Glitter Lips. As the crowd waits outside for the doors to open on this year’s show, students are participating in one of the longest standing cult traditions of our time.
The movie was originally released in 1975 as an adaptation of the musical stage production, “The Rocky Horror Show.” The movie is now the longest running show, and is still shown in theaters all across America.
Veterans and virgins, or first timers of a live “Rocky Horror” viewing, are already rowdy as they gather before the show. The night is warm for late October, the better for costumes that consist of only undergarments, and there are many. The cast and audience move through the crowd, finding old friends to talk to and new friends to admire their attire.
There are no strangers here; everyone is connected by Rocky, by exuberance and by youth. Only a few virgins stand to the side of the mass, content to observe this strange scene.
Transylvanians (the cast that performs in the preshow and through the movie) run through the crowd, dressed in tights, sparkles and blazers with teased hair and makeup so loud it screams. They go up to every group, looking for the virgins and branding them with a red V on their foreheads.
The doors open at 11:30 p.m., and the crowd surges forward to get the best seats for the show.
Once in the auditorium, anticipation continues to build as the audience runs through the aisles, dancing to the music and yelling to friends. A mosh pit forms in front of the stage. The noise level rises as it nears midnight and the start of the show, reaching its climax as a queen song starts to play and the audience proudly belts the lyrics, leaning across seats and singing to one another.
Sean McAleer, freshman biology pre-med major, sits in his seat, taking in the scene around him.
“It’s pretty crazy, but at the same time it’s awesome that people are so into it,” McAleer said. “I heard about how crazy it is, but I never imagined this.”
The lights dim for the show to start and the crowd’s noise rises once again as Lyssa Hoganson, finely dressed in a suit and top hat, enters the stage to start the pre-show.
“Welcome ladies, gentlemen and variations there upon,” Hoganson said as wild cheering erupts throughout the crowd.
The Transylvanians enter the stage for the pre-show, a series of choreographed dances, full of energy and sexuality. The dancers move across the stage, incorporating everything from ballet to hip-hop.
“What you are about to watch is a horrible movie,” Hoganson said as she reviewed the rules of the show.
And it is, in fact, a horrible movie. The low-budget film about a newly engaged couple who happen upon a castle full of sweet transsexuals from Transylvania bombed during its first release. It did not become popular until it was later re-released as a midnight movie and moviegoers started participating along with the show.
Audience participation includes shouting out extra dialog, throwing props and dancing in the aisles to the Time Warp. The GC production also includes a shadow cast that acts out the movie on stage while the actual movie runs on a screen behind them.
Kelly Carelson, junior theatre major and former Transylvanians, remarks on the differences of being in the audience rather than on the stage.
“When you’re on stage, you can’t see how participatory it is, but when you’re in the audience you see how much participation is actually happening,” Carelson said.
Carelson said one of her favorite moments of the night was when Zach Roberts, a senior theatre major who is spending the semester in Orlando for the Disney College Program, was introduced as the surprise guest host.
“Literally none of us knew he was coming, so when he showed up I almost cried,” Carelson said.
The show went on until two in the morning, with the audience time warping and shouting lines until the very end. The crowd leaves in a heat of excitement and exhaustion. It’s time for most to put the costumes and makeup away, but they will return next year to do the Time Warp all over again celebrated the cult phenomenon of Rocky Horror.