By IZZA JATALA
The ‘Rocky Horror Picture Show’ shadow cast production put on by the Hot Patooties invited audience members to transform into a Transylvanian for a night as they took part in the interactive experience of watching this terribly terrific cult-classic live at the State Theatre last Friday, Nov. 8.
The doors opened at 11 p.m., and the crowd of veterans and ‘virgins,’ or first-timers of a live “Rocky Horror” show, wore themed costumes, teased hair, wigs, glitter and make-up as they made their way in.
“The most exciting thing for me is how many people are here experiencing this for the first time. We’ve worked so hard and our cast and crew are so passionate about it, we’re just excited to be doing this,” said Stephanie Dockery, co-director, who stood alongside Hannah Tepe, co-director, in playfully themed costumes greeting fans as they walked in.
“I think this is something people have been wanting in South Bend and we’re ready to bring it and are really stoked. We also exceeded our crowd funding goal. Our goal was $750, we were at $860 last time I looked,” said Tepe who was carrying concessions for attendees.
Once inside, the large screen on stage was airing strange and quirky old school music videos from the Rocky Horror genre.
People were dancing, tossing around balloons, messing with their bag of props and admiring each others’ wonderfully weird attires.
Then the lights finally dimmed and the spotlight shined down on the co-directors who danced their way on stage to start the traditional initiation process of the “virgins,” who were all marked with a red “V” upon entering the venue.
Afterward they sang an anthem-like tribute to the show they returned to their seats, pumped for the show to begin.
The iconic bright red lips on the big screen chimed the tunes of the opening song, “Science Fiction/Double Feature,” and the crowd sang along as the show began.
As different characters appeared on screen, their live performing counterparts acted out everything on stage. In sync with every movement and gesture, they brought the story alive for the audience.
They utilized not only the stage but the entire show room. Doctor Frank N. Furter, played by IU South Bend student John Magness, appeared from the back of the show room before strutting his way down the aisle to center stage.
“I had so much fun, it feels good to finally do this live for everyone. My favorite part was my entrance and then dancing the last scene on stage with everyone,” Magness said.
Riff Raff, played by Michael DeLargy, first appeared on the balcony before appearing again on stage to do the “Time Warp” number where characters like Magenta, played by Gracie Lange, and Columbia, played by IUSB student Sarah Knowlton, made their first appearance dancing on stage.
“My favorite moment was when I first came out and everybody cheered for me so loud that I couldn’t even hear the movie in the background. Definitely felt loved,” Knowlton said.
All the while, the audience shouted out funny comebacks and used the items in the survival kit, throwing toast, confetti and toilet paper.
For their final scene they did the “Time Warp” again and audience members got out of their seats to dance along. When it faded out, it was replaced with sounds of cheers from the audience as the show came to a close.
The co-directors invited the cast and crew back on stage to take photos and start the meet-and-greet with the audience.
Knowlton was seen on stage in her gold sequence get-up and top hat, being congratulated by her friends and family and talking about her experience.
“Playing as Columbia on Friday night was probably one of the most terrifying and amazing experiences of my life. I was literally pacing back and forth backstage right before I went on because I was so scared but once I was out there, the crowd was so awesome and it just took all of my nerves away,” she said.
Ashlyn Marshall, IUSB student and roommate of Knowlton, was a first time attendee and enjoyed the “Rocky Horror” experience.
“It was great, I didn’t think I’d like it at first but my roommate’s in it so I came to support her and I ended up loving it. I think the interaction was the coolest part. I think the most memorable was definitely the toast you chucked on stage,” Marshall said laughing.
Dockery said it’s been a joy watching the cast develop friendships and becoming a little family, supporting each other every step on and off the stage.
She said that she’s thankful for being able to bring this culturally historic show to this locally historic theater, and thankful for the community involvement from the cast, crew and audience.
“It is so important for people in the community to get involved because one, the State Theatre isn’t like a corporate theatre thing with professional million dollar actors and crew. We all live in the area so it’s great to support the things that make your community unique,” Knowlton said.
The next show will be on Dec. 14 and Dockery and Tepe have plans to bring the show to the State in the coming months.
To learn more about cast and crew follow them on their official Facebook page titled Rocky Horror South Bend Hot Patooties. To find out more about what’s happening at the State visit http://www.thestatesb.com.
“For all the ‘virgins’ that come to our show, I hope they had a blast with this one-of-a-kind experience and take away with them the same passion that we, Hot Patooties, have for Rocky Horror so they’ll want to come back and do the ‘Time Warp’ again,” said DeLargy (Riff Raff).