My Rocky Horror Birthday

It’s your birthday and what could somebody do to celebrate it in an out of the ordinary manner worthy of Monty Python’s famous "And now for something completely different"? How about a small dinner theatre which seats a maximum of 88 people and an amateur troop’s fourth annual presentation of a 1973 cult classic whose protagonist is a transvestite? Yep, I think that fits the bill quite nicely.

I’m sure the younger crowd may think of old me (I prefer older me) in somewhat uncomplimentary terms like staid, middle of the road if not conservative and bordering on the era of age related discounts. Do I hear the vernacular for elderly intestinal gas as in "old fart"? Hey, Saturday night I was dancing up a storm with the cast and 80% of the audience (there are always party poopers who refuse to join in) and singing at the top of my lungs "Let’s do the Time Warp again!"

I have never seen a stage production of the show. I, like zillions of people, saw the 1975 movie The Rocky Horror Picture Show. It was a good thing I did a little quickie refresher with Google because I had totally forgotten about the audience participation aspect of it. When I saw the movie back in 1978, I was amused to discover how the audience was yelling out the lines of dialogue while whipping various items at the screen at the appropriate moment. Confetti, rice, even toast, there were all sorts of fan chosen things which in some way matched up to the story. No wonder the movie and subsequent theatre productions were not so much shows as events. I remember that one "underground" movie theatre would show the movie at midnight on the Saturday closest to Hallowe’en and the crowd would go wild. Heavens only knows how long it took the establishment to clean up the mess after it was all said and done.

For my "birthday event", the theatre encouraged members of the audience to come dressed up as their favourite character. Hats off to the one guy who came sort of dressed up as a transvestite. Okay no garter belt and stockings but he did have panty hose, hot pants and a bustier. You are a better man than I am, Gunga Din.

Theatre rules restricted what you could throw. Out of fear of the actors slipping and falling, things like toast, hotdogs and water pistols were banned. If you see the movie, anything seems to be permitted. In the lobby, those who were unprepared, like yours truly, could buy participation bags. Enclosed in a baggie, you got various items like confetti, newspaper, rubber glove (don’t ask), noise maker, glow stick and a playing card. Complete instructions put you in the know of just when in the production you were supposed to haul out what item. Then again, there were enough experienced people to just follow suit.

Booking.com

Participation
(WikipediaLive theater differs from the showings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show in which some items that could be harmful to the actors are not allowed. Items such as rice that could cause a "slip and fall" have been banned from many theaters. Because of this, and the desire to create additional forms of revenue, live theaters sell what are called "audience participation bags". 

During performances, the audience has been encouraged to join in with the performance. Items most commonly taken are:

* Toast – Thrown during the dinner scene.
* Bounty Bars – Thrown on the line with “Paradise” in it
* Newspaper – When Janet covers her head with one in the rain.
* Rubber Gloves – To be snapped in time with Frank N. Furter during the creation scene.
* Kit Kats – Thrown on the line “You get a break”
* Rice – Thrown during the wedding scene at the start
* Party Poppers, Hat, Blower – Used during the dinner/happy birthday scene and the creation scene.
* Water pistols – Used to help simulate the storm in which Brad and Janet are caught.
* Flashlights – Used to light up the room during the "there’s a light" verse of "Over at the Frankenstein Place."
* Toilet Paper – Thrown upon Doctor Scott’s entrance when Brad exclaims "Great Scott!"
* Confetti – Thrown onstage at the end of the “Charles Atlas Song” Reprise.
* Playing Cards – Thrown during the line “cards for sorrow, cards for pain.”
* Hot Dogs – Thrown during the line "You’re a hot-dog and you better not try to hurt her …..Frank Furter."

In recent years, this has been discouraged by theatres due to the safety implications of debris and water on the stage.

Uploaded by vinylrecordsarebest on Aug 14, 2011
Time Warp (Official Video) Rocky Horror Picture Show

It’s astounding, time is fleeting
Madness takes its toll
But listen closely, not for very much longer
I’ve got to keep control

I remember doing the Time Warp
Drinking those moments when
The blackness would hit me and the void would be calling
Let’s do the time warp again…
Let’s do the time warp again!

It’s just a jump to the left
And then a step to the right
With your hands on your hips
You bring your knees in tight
But it’s the pelvic thrust that really drives you insane,
Let’s do the Time Warp again!

It’s so dreamy, oh fantasy free me
So you can’t see me, no not at all
In another dimension, with voyeuristic intention
Well-secluded, I see all
With a bit of a mind flip
You’re there in the time slip
And nothing can ever be the same
You’re spaced out on sensation, like you’re under sedation
Let’s do the Time Warp again!

Well I was walking down the street just a-having a think
When a snake of a guy gave me an evil wink
He shook me up, he took me by surprise
He had a pickup truck and the devil’s eyes.
He stared at me and I felt a change
Time meant nothing, never would again
Let’s do the Time Warp again!

Final Word
It’s just a jump to the left. If you are standing up participating, then it’s a step to the right. And yes that pelvic thrust really does drive you insane. Would the original author Richard O’Brien have imagined in 1973 that his little opus would turn into a classic and still be going strong nearly forty years later? Holy cow.

This was all great fun and an original way to spend one’s birthday. In reflecting back on it all, I would say that yes indeed, this does rate "And now for something completely different".

References

Wikipedia: The Rocky Horror Show
The Rocky Horror Show is a long-running British horror comedy stage musical, which opened in London on 19 June 1973. It was written by English-born New Zealander Richard O’Brien, and developed by O’Brien in collaboration with Australian theater director Jim Sharman. It came eighth in a BBC Radio 2 listener poll of the "Nation’s Number One Essential Musicals".

The play was adapted as the 1975 film The Rocky Horror Picture Show, a cult film and the longest-running theatrical release in film history.

Wikipedia: The Rocky Horror Picture Show
The Rocky Horror Picture Show is the 1975 film adaptation of the British rock musical stageplay, The Rocky Horror Show, written by Richard O’Brien. The film is a parody of B-movie, science fiction and horror films of the late 1940s through early 1970s. Director Jim Sharman collaborated on the screenplay with O’Brien, who wrote both the book and lyrics for the stage. The film introduces Tim Curry and features Susan Sarandon and Barry Bostwick along with cast members from the original Kings Road production presented at the Royal Court Theatre, London, in 1973.

Still in limited release 36 years after its premiere, it has the longest-running theatrical release in film history. It gained notoriety as a midnight movie in 1977 when audiences began participating with the film in theatres. Rocky Horror is the first film from a major Hollywood studio to be in the midnight movie market. The motion picture has a large international cult following and is one of the most well known and financially successful midnight movies of all time. In 2005, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".

Wikipedia: The Rocky Horror Glee Show
"The Rocky Horror Glee Show" is the fifth episode of the second season of the American television series Glee, and the 27th episode overall. It was written by Ryan Murphy, from a story by Murphy and Tim Wollaston, directed by Adam Shankman, and premiered on Fox on October 26, 2010. The episode features the glee club paying tribute to the 1973 musical The Rocky Horror Show, with elements of its 1975 film adaptation The Rocky Horror Picture Show, by staging it as a school musical.

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