Last Friday was Halloween and I missed my regular Friday post. I was so busy getting ready for the big night that I completely forgot to schedule anything. What could possibly be so important that every aspect of it took up all my attention? It was my first Rocky Horror Picture Show.
A friend, E, invited me to a live theater performance of the world’s “longest theatrical release in film history” late on Halloween night way back in September. E had moved a few hours away to be closer to a new job she took up this summer, so any chance we get to hang out is a big event, but Rocky Horror was going to be a little more special than usual because it would be the first time seeing the show as a play for both of us.
All of my friends and coworkers knew our Halloween plans, and everyone gave advice or shared stories from their own Rocky Horror experiences. If you’ve always wanted to go to a show, here’s some tips I picked up to make it amazing.
1. Don’t wait until Halloween
Like I said, Rocky Horror Picture Show has the longest theatrical release in film history. This means that the film originally came to theaters in 1975 and it is still being played in cinemas across the country. From what I’ve heard, both live and film versions are great as long as you get a good crowd. So don’t wait and wait around like I did. Do some research and see when the next showing near you is!
2. Dress up
E and I were dead set and fulling taking part in the Rocky Horror festivities on Halloween. Some people dress up as characters from the film, while others, like E and myself, just don some crazy clothes and blend in with the crowd. There’s no wrong way to look at one of these shows. However, dressing up makes you feel like you’re really part of the group and less self conscious about acting out the rest of the show. Trust me, it’s more fun when you just let go and dive in head first. If you’re really hesitant about going all out on your first show, opt for a glittery bow tie, feathered boa, or any other little accessory you can easily put on or take off as you feel.
3. Bring props (if you can)
The best part of the Rocky Horror shows is the audience participation. For those who don’t know, the Official Rocky Horror Picture Show Fan Site has a list of props that audience members can use in various ways when certain lines are said in the show. Some shows ask guests to bring their own props, some provide them for audience members, while other theaters prohibit all props. The show E and I went to didn’t allow any props, most likely because it was a live performance and throwing things on stage could result in hurting a real human being. Check your tickets or the theater’s website before you bring a bag full of rice or toilet paper.
4. Learn the lines
The audience often participates by quoting lines, singing along to the music, and even dancing like the actors on stage or screen. Watching the movie a few times at home before your first show will help you learn some of the lines so that you can easily participate. You’ll have to go to a few shows to learn the extra lines though.
5. Learn the extra lines
Just like the props, the audience also participates with their own lines throughout the show. Depending on where you go, the audience lines can create a running commentary throughout the entire show. Every region has different lines, but the Official Fan Site states that there is one audience line that is almost universally accepted: “Whenever you hear the name ‘Brad Majors,’ yell ‘ASSHOLE,’ okay?”
6. Be open minded
Whenever I told people, especially coworkers, about my Halloween plans they always told me one of two things: how their first Rocky Horror experience went or how they’ve always wanted to go to one. For those who shared their first experiences, I began to notice a pattern. Those who didn’t enjoy the show started off the night not know what they were getting into and not being open to the experience.
So let me tell you, these things can get pretty wild. Even the show E and I went to had several people dressed in BDSM attire shouting vulgar lines. According to the veteran Rocky Horror audience members we shared a table with, our show was extremely calm compared to other performances they’d seen. If that doesn’t sound like you’re cup of tea, don’t bother. While you’ll never really know if you like something until you try it, you need to at least be open to the idea of a wild, vulgar, sex-driven musical performance as a fun way to spend your evening in order to like Rocky Horror.
Long story short, my first Rocky Horror show was amazing! I can’t wait to go to my next show and use all the lines I picked up on Halloween. I’ve never been to anything so interactive or with such an interesting history and I honestly don’t think I could pass up another chance to join a bunch of strangers in glittery clothes yelling and throwing things at a performance from the 1970s. I mean, really, who could?
Fisch, Martin. the audience is shaking (CC). 24 Aug. 2012. Online image. Flickr. 7 Nov. 2014. https://flic.kr/p/d9bYtm