Let’s Do the Time Warp Again

Odds are that the words The Rocky Horror Picture Show have come up at least in passing at one point during your lifetime. If not, then Sarah Lawrence is the place to be. Each year the weekend before Halloween, Sarah Lawrence stages an annual shadow cast production of Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Though it is an annual Halloween tradition at Sarah Lawrence, this year it almost didn’t happen because of technical difficulties. The projector required to screen the movie so that it doesn’t interfere with the action below was thrown out by Audio Visual after it overheated in rehearsals for the 2010 performance.

“Since we were the only club that uses it they weren’t planning on replacing it,” says Anna Press ’13, director of this year’s production.

A solution was found when Jeremy Pearson ’14 was able to commandeer the use of a similar projector from the theater department for the show, saving the annual Halloween tradition. The current performance is scheduled for Saturday October 29th at midnight.
In a shadowcast productions, a live cast acts out each role against the backdrop of the playing movie. This years shadowcast features Ilana Masad ‘14, as Dr. Frank-N-Furter, Jeremy Pearson ’14 as Rocky, Stephen Ira 14 as Brad Majors, and Tassa Markman ‘14 as Janet.
In addition to the shadowcast the night also features a surprise preshow, details of which are being kept under wraps.

“It will be politically relevant,” says Press.

Anyone attending the show can expect to see a wild night of unbridled innuendo accented by interactive elements such as callbacks and good-natured audience hazing. Callbacks are ad-lib responses to the films lines, and although tightly scripted, vary depending on the audience. It is also a tradition to have a “virgin sacrifice.” This is the time during the night where anyone who hasn’t seen the film will be made fun of or mocked in some way, but it is all in good fun.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show is a parody of B-movie science fiction and horror films. The film starring Susan Sarandon and Barry Boswick was produced in 1975 and is based off a stage play entitled The Rocky Horror Show, written by Richard K. O’Brian, who originated the role of Riff Raff, the butler. The story is told from the point of view of the criminologist as he reviews the facts of a case of mission persons Brad Majors (Boswick) and Janet Weiss (Sarandon).

Through bilateral storytelling viewers see the events unfold as Brad and Janet’s car breaks down and they rush off to a castle to use a phone. The inhabitants of the castle are engaged in a celebration put forth by mad scientist Dr. Frank-N-Furter (Tim Curry).
The film originally premiered at UA Theatre in Westwood, Los Angeles on September 26, 1975. The film was well received in LA, but audiences elsewhere were less receptive. It was pulled from the eight locations it was screened at due to small audiences and the New York release was cancelled. The movie later gained a cult following when it started midnight showings on April 1, 1976 at Waverly Theatre in New York City.

By Halloween in 1976, people were coming to the midnight screenings dressed in costume. By mid-1978 it was playing in over 50 locations and by the end of 1979 there were twice-weekly showings in 230 theatres nation wide. 20th Century Fox has never pulled the film as a theatrical release and screenings have continued for over 36 years.

The cult following of Rocky Horror is alive and well at Sarah Lawrence today and continues as a Halloween tradition and promises, as always a night of wild humor and laughter.
“We keeping the tradition of ruining your childhood,” says Press.

Lauren Busser, likes to think that magic exists. (Errol got lost with her Hogwarts letter.) She is currently writing for Bronxville Patch.com, The Phoenix, and WizardingLife.com as well as sending the occasional op-ed to newspapers. When not writing as a journalist she can be found reading Gothic novels for her senior thesis entitled Rivalry and Sorority or knitting obsessively with sock weight yarn.

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