By Carrie Thayer
It’s a tale as old as time: boy meets girl. He proposes, she accepts, and they’re off to inform the person through whom they met.
Cue a rainstorm and flat tire. Then it’s just a jump to the left and a step to the right and the two spiral into a world of sex, drugs, and Rocky Horror.
In the 41 years since the play’s debut, The Rocky Horror Show has become a force in and of itself. Between stage and film adaptations and the ever-occurring “Time Warp,” it’s safe to say that most of us have had one run-in or another with the material.
Thanks to Music Theatre Fargo-Moorhead, there’s yet again an opportunity to take part in a new Rocky Horror experience. Starting Oct. 23, the company will be introducing a hybrid of the show’s adaptations, mixing the audience participation fostered in the famed midnight showings of the film with the energy of live theater, guaranteed to titillate audiences, show virgins and veterans alike.
Cast member Samuel Krauth promises the production will fulfill expectations of those familiar with the show, while adding a new spin.
“Our Dr. Frank N. Furter is going to be like no Frank they’ve ever seen before,” Krauth says.
MSUM senior and actor Michael Johnson said his journey to Rocky Horror has been challenging. While the production is fun, it still tackles some real issues, Johnson said.
“It’s really brought to the forefront some pretty stimulating conversations about gender, about gender roles, perceived gender, and perceived perfection,” he said.
The handling of these issues helped to give the production an avid cult following.
By encouraging the audience to take part in the Rocky Horror world, the company looks to pay homage to the various incarnations of fans, while welcoming newcomers.
Taylor Schatz, the production’s Frank N. Furter, says the show creates a new way for viewers to experience a story.
While it borrows from the kitschy science fiction b-movies of the past, it also invites the audience to become part of the action.
“The audience is a character, there are certain things they say at certain times and they really play with you,” Schatz said.
There’s no need to be worried if an audience member is unfamiliar with the call-outs and props, however, as a kit of items showgoers need comes with every ticket. The kit includes a paper outlining when items should be used and when expletives should be shouted.
While you might want to brush up on your “Time Warp” beforehand, the cast and crew want audience members to really let go, have fun and enjoy the experience.
“The show is about trusting yourself and acceptance, it’s about sensuality and sexuality … It beckons people out to be silly and crazy, and that’s okay,” Schatz said.
The show encourages folks to dress up in whatever makes them feel fun or sexy and strap themselves in for a ride through the crazy world of secret labs, aliens, and more than a little heavy petting.
“The Rocky Horror Show” opens at The Stage at Island Park in Fargo on Thursday, Oct. 23. There is a 7:30 p.m. run time for shows Oct. 23-25 and Oct. 30, with midnight shows on Halloween and Nov. 1. Student tickets are $15 and are available through MTFM’s website at musictheatrefm.wordpress.com.
The production is R-rated and not recommended for the easily offended. Outside props are also prohibited.
However, if you’re not a prude and the campy production seems like a fit for you, you just need to come to the lab and see what’s on the slab. Give in to the antici–pation.