The two vans arrived approximately at 10 p.m. in front the building for parking and police services. About a dozen college students climbed aboard; some in jeans, some in tinsel antennae, others in sequin top hats. From there, the group pelvic thrusted and time warped to 1975, or more specifically, the “Rocky Horror Picture Show” at the Albany Twin Theatre.
The van arrived about 30 minutes before the event which had been on the Residential Students Association’s schedule since last summer, and already, there was a line. However, considering its popularity during Halloween, the line for “Rocky Horror” could have been much longer. A commotion of laughter and excited voices filled the atmosphere, as friendly, costumed individuals waited for the doors to open.
One girl in a corseted sailor outfit grabbed a tube of lipstick out of her purse.
“An unmarked virgin?” she said, “Let me fix that.”
She proceeded to scribble a burgundy V on the so-called virgin’s forehead and a penis on his cheek. Her friend started passing out glow sticks, with connector pieces to make bracelets, flowers and glasses.
When the doors opened at midnight, the crowd clambered inside the theater where the Barely Legal cast waited for them, but before the show started, a series of rituals had to take place. The host took stage and pumped up the audience with a series of call-and-response cheers. He was exuberant, and threw in some distasteful humor, as is traditional. Next was the virgin sacrifice.
“Do we have any Rocky Horror virgins in the audience?” he asked. About three-quarters of the audience climbed into aisles, and shuffled on stage where they were ordered to shake their booty until the music stopped. Six people were tapped out, and in a hilarious display, played in a relay race in teams of three with Halloween decorations. Danielle Davis, a senior sociology major at Sonoma State, thought she may have been tapped and ended up staying on stage, where she was handed a microphone and asked to fake an orgasm throughout the game.
“I was shocked,” said Davis. “I was so embarrassed but it was funny.”
The moaning was for the most part unsuccessful as she was laughed too hard to focus on the task at hand. The object of the game was for the runner to detach a skeleton bobble-head head, kept between a player’s legs, and put it in a plastic Halloween hand which was between another player’s legs. The person with the hand then must drop the head in the bucket- all without using their hands.
In the spirit of Halloween there was a costume contest in which the top three winners won small prizes. Finally, the host led a chorus of “Happy birthday, f**k you,” happy birthday with a four-letter twist to an audience member.
The audience was enthusiastic, but the small crowd that knew interactive lines with the movie had trouble saying them in sync, and often sounded like a garbled mess. This prevented the audience from hearing their lines and the lines in the actual movie, which sometimes detracted from the show. This was no fault of RSA or the Barely Legal cast, but it definitely could have improved the experience immensely.
The actors seemed very well rehearsed, having a simple but fun choreography for every song, even the ones that didn’t typically have a dance number. This enhanced the show and made it livelier, and allowed the audience to interact by imitating their dance moves or reading the words on note cards. The blocking and costumes were so accurate, it was almost uncanny. They even had a member on set stay on stage to hold props such as billboards and water coolers to make the live performance as close to the screen performance as possible. The actors lip synced every line to the syllable, and the actor who played Dr. Frank n’ Furter was fun and charismatic.
Audience members could interact further by buying a goodie bag at the beginning of the show with items to throw during certain lines, a tradition that has carried on since the 70s. The bag was reasonably priced; only $5 and contained toilet paper, a noisemaker, cards, toast, and bubbles. There were certain items that they didn’t allow in the theater, such as squirt guns and rice, which were more “traditional,” but the cast wanted to respect the theater's safety policies.
When asked what she thought of her first Rocky Horror experience, Davis’s response was enthusiastic, despite her embarrassing initiation. This is a common reaction to this eccentric show, which has proven to be successful throughout the decades.
Rosemarie Keene, a junior English major and a seasoned attendee, also recommends the experience.
“I just feel that it’s so cheesy. In literal terms it’s a terrible movie. But it’s just so interactive, you have fun and you can laugh at how horrible it is,” said Keene. “Even if you go for the first time, you get to go and learn the songs and Tim Curry makes anything an instant cult classic.”