Alpha Psi Omega does the 'Time Warp' again with annual performance
Alpha Psi Omga's annual production of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” came alive Oct. 18-20 at the Broadway Theatre downtown Mount Pleasant.
The theater fraternity's production of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show" is a Halloween tradition at Central Michigan University. Each year, the organization selects certain members to direct the production.
The show involves a movie screening while a shadow cast acts out the classic film of the same name. The movie follows a newly engaged couple, Janet and Brad, as they embark on a drive to meet a friend. As they are driving, a tire goes flat, forcing the couple to head to a nearby castle to use its phone. Little do they know, this castle holds a scientist named Dr. Frank-N-Furter who will test their preconceived ideas of sex and identity.
“I think this (show) is a more collaborative experience because it is student directed. It’s not as strict so we just have blocking and staging we do and then we can have fun with it,” said Charlotte sophomore Anna Rudnitsky. “There’s a crazy scene at the end called the ‘Floor Show’ and it’s literally a free for all. We kind of work it out ourselves what we want to do.”
Rudnitsky played Brad in the gender-bent version of the show Oct. 19 and said the audience was in for a crazy time.
“Sitting in the audience is a wild ride with the story going on and it’s a whole experience rather than just seeing a show,” she said.
Festivities began before the show even started.
To start the night off, audience members were called up to the stage to compete in four costume contests: sexy, group, most unique and themed.
Prop bags -- purchased at the door for one dollar -- and call-outs during the show from the crowd increased audience involvement.
Each prop bag included rice, a sheet of newspaper, a piece of toast, a plastic glove and two playing cards.
“I loved the prop bags. The interactivity of the show was so fun. Having the props made me feel like I was really part of the fun,” said Olivet freshman Madelyn Smith.
For some students, attending “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” may feel like stepping into a different universe. However, this is exactly how the audience is meant to feel.
“The vibe of the show is very much like, 'Everybody just have whatever fun you want to have,'" Rudnitsky said. "There are some people that (will) push their boundaries, push their comfort zones, which is kind of what (the show is) meant to do. When the movie came out, it was pushing a lot of boundaries in the first place.”
Though they're used to testing boundaries, the students who produced “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” wanted to ensure the transgender community was comfortable and initiated conversation about the portrayal of characters onstage.
“We had certain members of the trans community talk to us recently about how it was transphobic, but there are other members of the trans community that find (the show) freeing because it’s a version of themselves on screen,” said Director Adrienne Harig. “So because we want everyone to feel comfortable at 'Rocky' we put pamphlets up about the difference between trans and drag and all these different definitions about (LGBTQ culture)."
No matter the show's content, Harig believes “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” is meant to create a positive atmosphere that is safe for everyone.
“I think it’s a really great way to expand your boundaries because no one is going to push you to do something you don’t want to do." Harig said. We always say at any point if you decide you’re not comfortable with this anymore you can stop. I love that ('Rocky' is) so sex positive but at the same time you can feel really safe here.”