Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 5
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

‘Rocky Horror Picture Show’ engages audience participation with its sensuality

On the evening of Saturday, Nov. 13, a number of Whitman students will dress in scant and sexual costumes for Whitman’s annual showing of the raunchy cult classic musical “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” The event–which will occur in Maxey Auditorium–is entirely organized by students and will mimic the style of midnight showings of the cult film.

The movie will be screened behind actors who mimic the characters of the film frame by frame.  Meanwhile, audience members (who are strongly encouraged to dress in costume) participate in the event by using scripted “callbacks” to respond to on-screen dialogue with witty phrases, as well as sing along with the musical numbers.

“It’s not as scary as people think it’s going to be, but [it is] a little intimidating when you go for the first time” said sophomore cast member Beth Daviess.

Whitman’s Rocky Horror production is a tradition which has existed long before senior director Devin Petersen has been at Whitman. The show won’t be significantly different than it was last year, but Petersen, who organized the event last year as well, expressed that students  should attend the tradition due to the uniqueness of the event.

“It seems to awaken people’s sexuality as well as their excitement for the unusual, but it does something different for everybody,” said Petersen. “It’s a chance to see people doing things they would not usually do on stage [and] the audience participation is something that doesn’t exist in most other formats at Whitman.”

The idiosyncrasy of the event is also what made the production possible. Even though the event is free, the rights to show the film are very expensive. Nevertheless, WEB paid for the rights due to its popularity.

“WEB was really amazing in pulling together the funds for it,” said Petersen. “WEB recognized what I feel, which is that [the event] involves a lot of people and a lot of people on campus come to it and it’s a really unique event.”

Although he is technically in charge, Petersen doesn’t like to be labeled as a director due to the free form nature of the event.

“I see myself more as the organizer of it. People are very self motivated in this process . . . all of them spent a lot of time watching the movie over and over to get their parts right and to get the movements.”

However, this communal process requires a large amount of commitment and effort from the actors.

“It’s been more work than I expected, it takes a lot of time,” said Daviess. “Some [cast members] know the movie . . . word for word and step for step, and I wasn’t quite at that point when I tried out, but after this I will [be].”

Although the show has many fans, not everyone chooses to wear a sexually promiscuous costume.

“I find [the show] very entertaining,” said sophomore Ben Skotheim enthusiastically.  “[But] I don’t dress up because I’m uncomfortable with my sexuality.”

Even though Petersen will be graduating this year, it is unlikely the Rocky Horror tradition will end anytime soon.

“We’ve got somebody prepped to direct it next year, so [the tradition] should continue on,” said Petersen.

“The Rocky Horror Picture Show” will occur on Saturday, Nov. 13 at 10:30 p.m.

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