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A jump to the left and a step right into ‘Rocky Horror’

Courtesy+of+Jackson+Keys.+
Courtesy of Jackson Keys.

The Halloween cult classic “Rocky Horror Picture Show” returned to the Appalachian Theatre of the High Country for the second year in a row this past weekend, bringing with it dancing, fun and funky costumes. 

After major success debuting the show last October, the App State dramatics society, Alpha Psi Omega, was eager to make “Rocky Horror” an annual event. With the support of the Appalachian Theatre, APO was able to make this year’s production even bigger. 

Alex Contianos, a senior Theater Arts major,  serves as the president of APO and was the lead choreographer for the production this year. She said despite some challenges throughout rehearsals, the show came together perfectly in the end, and it was clear the audience agreed by their enthusiastic participation in the show. 

“Rocky Horror” productions are typically performed by a shadow cast, or a group of individuals acting out the scenes of a movie under the backdrop of the film, Contianos said. Because of the nature of the show, audience participation is both encouraged and expected. 

Throughout the show, crowd members shouted out callbacks and sang along to the songs, boosting the cast’s members’ energy on stage. Many attendees dressed in costumes both from the show and other areas of popular culture. 

There were three showings of “Rocky Horror” at the theater; two shows on Saturday and one sold out show Sunday. Contianos said the theater seats around 600 people and each show filled the majority of the seats. 

Avery Edwards, a freshman Theater Arts major and the assistant costume designer for the show, said the costume designers this year decided to take some creative liberties with the costumes used in the show, despite their low budget of $350. 

“We wanted to make everybody comfortable because while it is a fun, sexy show, not everybody wants to expose themself on stage, so we relied a lot on actor feedback,” she said.

Courtesy of Jackson Keys.

Edwards said many of the items used in the costume designing process were thrifted materials from Rams Rack, a local thrift store. The costume designers used pieces they thrifted to create unique costumes for each cast member that reflected not only the traditional costumes from the film, but the creativity of the cast members. 

“We wanted to let some of the costumes be silly, like at the end of the show when the alien suits were complete with kitchen gloves,” she said in reference to a scene at the end of the production where a few characters are dressed in alien costumes, but instead of gloves that matched the outfits, they were wearing kitchen gloves.  

Costume design choices weren’t the only difference between the show this year as compared to last October. Contianos said the group hunkered down to make changes to the show based on the audience’s response after last year’s performance. 

Among these changes was an increase in rehearsal time. The group met consistently three or four days during the week and twice on weekends to rehearse the production. 

Willow Brookshire is a senior transfer student theater education major who served as the stage manager for “Rocky Horror.” She said that because the show utilizes a shadow cast, there’s no printed script to reference. Instead, the actors learn a 20-30 minute chunk of the show at a time by watching the film and running through it time and time again beginning with the most important scenes, like “Time Warp,” before refining movements and facial expressions during dialogue. 

“It all came together to make a really great looking show,” Contianos said. 

Another change the production team made to the show this year was a larger incorporation of the ensemble throughout the show. Throughout the production, the ensemble cast could be seen on stage as a car, furniture and even as the iconic radio tower at the end of the show. 

“It felt more like we were utilizing the whole cast instead of just the leads, especially in the second half of the show,” Contianos said. “We put the ensemble into scenes they wouldn’t normally be in so everybody got the chance to be on stage more.”

For many members of the cast and crew, being part of “Rocky Horror” was much more than simply putting on a show. The group spent so much time together during rehearsals that they all got to know one another extremely well.

“I met all of these people for the very first time during the show, and I can say with confidence that they’re people I’m gonna be friends with for a long time,” Edwards said. 

Contianos echoed some of the same feelings about being part of “Rocky Horror.” She said she is beyond proud of the whole team as both their choreographer and the president of APO, but mostly as their friend. 

“I absolutely fell in love with the show when we did it last year because it bonds you so well with other people,” she said. “The nature of the show is so intimate, yet so wacky and fun, so everyone just has so much fun, and I was beyond excited to continue this tradition,” she said. 

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About the Contributor
Briley Turpin
Briley Turpin, A&C Editor
Briley Turpin (she/her) is a senior communications major with a criminal justice minor.
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