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Brandeis Pride kicks off with ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’

Brandeis Pride kicks off with ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’

By Adam Lamper

Section: Arts, Featured

April 8, 2016

LGBT Pride Month traditionally occurs in June, a time when the majority of the student body will be off campus. Because of this, Brandeis’ LGBTQ+ umbrella organization Triskelion is bringing the spirit of Pride Month early this year. Kicking off the month was a screening and shadow-casting performance of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” A cult classic, it is revolutionary for its portrayal of, and help in launching to mainstream audiences, the world of LGBTQ communities.

Hosted and performed by the RKO Army, a New England shadow casting group notorious for their performance of Rocky Horror, the production was wholeheartedly true to the quirky and risqué nature of the film, using a great deal of costumes and props that more or less mimicked the on-screen action. Likewise, the screening was also true to the film’s cult conception as a “Midnight Movie,” leaving many satisfied students departing from the SCC Theater well around 2:00 a.m. However, this particular version of the performance featured gender-swapped roles of two the main characters traditionally played by men Dr. Frank N. Furter and Rocky.

Even before the main show, the bawdiness which Rocky Horror exudes was forewarned by a series of R-rated acts that displayed the group’s skill in shadow casting. Most notable, however, were the musical acts, which sampled YouTube comedian Todrick Hall’s parody, “Twerking in the Rain,” as well as “Cell Block Tango” from the musical “Chicago.” Featuring a plethora of scantily-clad bodies, a diverse array of suggestive dance moves and notions of murder, the performances definitely set the scene for the excitement to come.

Perhaps the best part of the show was its inclusive and interactive nature. At the beginning of the main act, “virgins” to The Rocky Horror Picture Show, meaning those who had never experienced a live rendition of the film before, were invited on stage to have their cherries popped (that is, members of the cast would use their teeth to pop balloons held between the newcomers’ legs), as well as to have one lucky newcomer play a minor part as one of film’s supporting roles. Also prevalent, and at times excessive, was the use of counterpoint dialogue of the off-stage actors and long-time Rocky fans of the audience alike.

Although surely better-suited for repeated film goers, due to the heavy use of nuanced humor only those who were familiar with the performance would understand, it remains true that any production of The Rocky Horror Picture Show is a must-see, as its infectious songs and poignant one-liners leave a lasting impression that stand the test of time, as shown by the film’s 40-year-old cult status.

Upcoming events supported by Triskelion as part of Brandeis’ Pride Month include their “Queer-e-oke!” happening this Friday, April 6 at 8:30 p.m. in the Stein, as well as the coveted “Trisk Annual Drag Show,” happening on Tuesday, May 3 at 8:00 p.m. in Levin Ballroom as Pride comes to an exciting and most definitely memorable finale.

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