BWW Blog: Audience Callbacks & Experimentation
Last Friday, I got to attend my first ever production of The Rocky Horror Show and I'm so appreciative that shows like this exist. It wasn't a shadow cast production, which means a cast performs in front of a screen showing the movie and the audience can have props that interact with the cast. It was a live production with set pieces and hilarious callbacks from the audience whenever the cast members would say certain lines. The audience participation with the show is what makes it such a unique and fun show. For those who don't know what Rocky Horror is about, the music, lyrics, and book are all by Richard O'Brien, who also had a role in the show and the film adaption. The show centers around a newly engaged couple named Brad and Janet who end up stuck at a castle where an alien transvestite named Dr. Frakenfurter and his crew are making a muscle man. Sexual fantasies and freedom ensue, and the characters transform from innocent virgins to confident and sexually free deviants. It is one of the strangest musicals you will ever see but that is part of its charm. It's a cult musical for a reason and it is a wonderful example of how certain theatre goes unappreciated and how so much work goes into even the smallest of productions.
In the past few years we've seen productions on Broadway and in the West End get more experimental and older shows like Oklahoma! take on a fresh and new spin on what it once was. I believe we need more diverse and unique shows because, while we love many of the shows that are currently running, it would be nice to have a change of pace and have something totally new and special. This is why I believe Rocky Horror has been so successful. The plot is completely different than any other musical and the audience participation is incredible. You feel like, as an audience, you are a part of the show and every night is completely different. You can let loose for one night and lose yourself in the magical and wonderful world of theatre.
There's so much that goes into putting on a show. It's not just the actors or the director, but also the writers, the sound crew, lighting, even the concession stands and box office! There are hundreds of people needed to even put on a small show like the one I saw. Living in Savannah, Georgia we don't get exposed to much theater, sadly. However, the Bay Street Theatre puts on The Rocky Horror Show every year around Halloween time for a few weeks at Club One downtown. The cast was phenomenal and one of my dear friends who also goes to SCAD, Jack Caron, was apart of the ensemble. You could tell they were giving their all and that even though it is a relatively small performing venue it meant everything to them, and it was an honor to have been witness to it. You don't even realize how much really goes into a production, even one like this. All the work, sweat, and hours that go into putting on a show every night.
Attending SCAD, which is an art and design university, makes me appreciate not just theatre, but any art form so much more. Most people think actors don't work hard or that it's just a film or a show, but it couldn't be further from the truth. The entertainment industry is one of the most competitive industries and theatre especially should be appreciated and praised far more than it is. That is why I encourage people to go and see as much theatre as they can and look for those hidden gems like Rocky Horror used to be and you might just be amazed not only by the show but by the talent behind it.