BWW Blog: Off To A 'Rocky' Start
Hello readers of BroadwayWorld! My name is Maddy Oldham and I am a sophomore Drama and Early Childhood/Childhood Education major at Hofstra University on Long Island, New York. I am so excited to begin documenting my experiences as a dual major in arts and education as well as give you the inside scoop on the lifestyle of a college drama student.
My first post here came at a perfect time as I have a performance just around the corner! On October 30th, I am going to be playing Brad Majors in Hofstra's Shadow-Cast performance of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. For the past 3 years, the drama clubs on campus have collaborated with a movie-screening/entertainment club to put on a fun and spooky event that gets the entire campus community into the Halloween spirit. In case you are a "Rocky Virgin" (someone who has never viewed The Rocky Horror Picture Show) or have only seen it done as a musical, a "Shadow-Cast Performance" has actors perform all of the scenes of the movie in front of the screen. The actors lip-synch the lyrics to all the songs, mouth the dialogue, and work hard to become almost exact mirrors to what is happening on screen.
We, as drama majors, are constantly taught that good acting is in the specificity of the character. I don't believe I ever truly understood this concept until I was trying to mimic Barry Bostwick's every gesture, move, and tic as Brad. I underestimated just how much work would go into rehearsing the scenes since there wasn't much room for interpretation or error. The experience has provided me with a new form of memorization and appreciation for the details of a scene.
I distinctly remember my experience seeing Hofstra's Shadow-Cast last year. I had just finished watching Sweeney Todd alone in my room and needed to get out into civilization, as the (irrational) fear of a murderous barber jumping out of my armoire was taking over my body. There were advertisements all over campus for the free showing of Rocky, so I figured that it would be a fun activity for a Tuesday Halloween. The theater was PACKED with costumed people holding newspapers, glow sticks, playing cards, and rubber gloves among other random objects. It all became clear to me as the show began and everyone in the audience started calling out at the movie and holding up their props in the perfect moments to match the actors. I was astounded. It was as if I was missing out on a great, nationwide inside joke and was finally being introduced to it by being there.
This memory was brought to mind early this semester at a Drama Department Meet and Greet. The director of our production of Rocky announced that there were still open roles for audition and that he was extending the deadline. I made a promise with myself before this semester started that I would put myself out there more in the drama activities and try things that are out of my comfort zone. By playing Brad, with the provocative costumes and need for specificity, I feel that I am starting the year off honoring that promise.