Students do ‘The Time Warp’ again

From left to right: Shawn Goggins, Amber Shoemaker, Gary Black, Dahlia Rot, Jennifer Bodily, Sarah Brazo, Robin Zimmerman, and Charlie Blackwell. And Dusti Bennett under the blanket. Ben Ellis / Sun Star

For most performances, the entire crowd shouting “Fuck you” at the top of their lungs would be considered a failure, but “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” is not every show. Released in 1975, the comedy horror musical was largely panned by critics, but gained a massive cult following over the years.

Many performances of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” will have the original movie starring Tim Curry playing on a screen in the background, while actors mime the actions occurring on screen, lip-syncing their character’s lines and songs. Throughout the show, the audience will participate by shouting expletives at actors at certain moments throughout the story, commenting on various aspects of the show and its characters, or throwing items like toast, rice, confetti, or rolls of toilet paper.

Dahlia Rot’s big reveal as Dr. Frank N. Furter. Ben Ellis / Sun Star

First time audience members are referred to as ‘virgins’ complete with a V marked onto their forehead with red lipstick. These virgins are encouraged to take part in almost a rite of passage as part of their first time experience watching the show. In the case of the production put on by Naked Stage Productions this year, first-time audience members were asked to say the word “panties” into a microphone in as sexy a way as possible.

In many ways, a production of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” is more about the shared experience than the movie itself.

“Almost immediately I didn’t understand it at all. Like, I had no idea what was happening on screen, I was confused, I was horrified, and I was excited,” said Dahlia Rot, the performer playing the part of Dr. Frank N. Furter in this year’s production when talking about the first time they ever saw the movie.

Di Starr as the criminologist, a narrator of the events of the show. Ben Ellis/Sun Star

Naked Stage Productions traditionally puts on the show at UAF annually, which started back in 2009. This year though, the crew was faced with some difficulties in setting up, having only been given access to the theater three days before the show.

“You know, it’s been a whole group effort so the whole cast came and they’re all helping to set everything up and make sure we get the screen hung correctly, and make sure we have we’ve got like a ramp that we’ve put in,” said Rachel Blackwell, the producer and director of the show, “and like all these things that we need to do to get ready for the show, and I’m so appreciative of all the people we have working on this show, because they’ve all come together and helped out.”

Despite the challenges that the crew faced, students enjoyed the show. The theater was packed full of audience members.

“I absolutely loved it, it was my first time doing it. I’ve seen Rocky Horror plenty of times, they did a wonderful rendition of it,” said Nathan Hiles, an art student and one of the first-time viewers of the play version of the production.

“It was absolutely wonderful, you got to see the movie and watch some people play it out, and it was perfect,” said Aimee Bushnell, an art and business administration student.

(From left to right): Nathan Hiles, Aimee Bushnell, Rachel Bruesch, Nathan Barnett attend this year’s production of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” Three of these four were “virgin” show attendees. Ben Ellis / Sun Star

Another tradition in performances of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” is arriving in costume. Some of the students were dressed in Halloween costumes, while others were dressed as characters from the show. Some, who didn’t dress up, felt that they should have.
“It’s the first time I’ve gone to a play and felt like I was dressed too far down,” said Nathan Barnett, a mechanical engineering major who attended the show. “I had too much clothing on, and I needed to be like ‘where’s my corset, where’s my stockings?'”

As a longstanding tradition of traditions, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” is one production that many students seem to want to enjoy again.

“I believe I can say for the four [attending people],” said Hiles, “we would come back every year if they put on a production.”

Ben Ellis

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