For the first time in two years, the Kenyon College Players (KCP) put on an indoor shadowcast of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” to a filled audience in Rosse Hall on Saturday night. Students lined up for the show hours before it began, anxiously awaiting the popular Kenyon staple. As is Kenyon tradition for Rocky Horror, the 1975 film played on a projector upstage, while KCP lip-synced and pantomimed in front of it.
The level of excitement for the show was impressive, and because there was no ticketing system, people began to line up in front of Rosse more than two hours before the show started. The time it took to get into Rosse sparked some frustration, especially since there was only one showing and Rocky Horror is one of the most popular events of the year. However, waiting in line for the doors to open became part of the experience: People brought camping chairs, blankets and speakers to make the waiting worthwhile, and it evolved into a social event.
Most students who attended were dressed like the characters in “Rocky” –– corsets and fishnets were a popular choice, and many wore underwear or sported all black with bold makeup. Some students had a “V” drawn on them in lipstick to indicate their Rocky Horror “virginity.” The culture that “Rocky Horror” inspires is one of self-expression, a celebration of sexuality and individual freedom, which both the cast and the audience embodied perfectly.
The production itself was impressive: The costuming was perfectly raunchy, and KCP found creative ways to mimic the screen while keeping the props simple. During the more provocative scenes, KCP used blankets and lighting to create a shadow projection on stage that the actors hid behind while pantomiming the scene. The choreography lived up to the movie as well, and every song was so much fun to watch that people were dancing in the crowd.
While KCP did an amazing job, a major part of the show was largely missing, which was the audience callouts. There were a few that could be easily picked up from watching the show, but a big part of the “Rocky Horror” tradition is the second “script” that is usually yelled from the theater seats. Many of the callouts come before one of the characters speak, often asking ridiculous questions to make it seem like they are answering it. There were a few times that members of the audience knew the right things to say, but compared to most other productions of Rocky Horror, these were mostly absent, particularly since the pandemic made it so this was the first time for a lot of the attendees.
Regardless, the show was a big success and the highlight of Halloweekend for many of those who went to see it. This tradition is so much fun and anyone who didn’t make it inside the building doors should definitely try to experience Rocky Horror in the future. It is a cultural phenomenon that has become iconic to the queer community, and KCP provided the chaotic energy that the show is famous for.