You can hear the music blasting from the moment you enter Hughes-Trigg; the sound of pop music fills the space. Outside the ballroom is a table filled with show-time essentials available for purchase.
Rolls of toilet paper.
Decks of cards.
This is a show that requires audience participation.
“The Rocky Horror Picture Show” is a cult classic. It’s a film known across the country for its bold representation of sexuality and identity. Though the film originally premiered in 1975, theatrical performances alongside screenings of the movie are still popular today.
Sunday night, SMU’s Spectrum supplied the free popcorn while a shadow cast company, Los Bastardos, acted out Rocky Horror along with the movie. Audience members are encouraged to dress up as their favorite character, dance or sing along, and even throw things during the show. The ballroom was taken over.
Inside, a girl in a gold sequin corset and rainbow striped shorts danced up and down the aisle. Cast members sang as they walked through rows of seats, stopping to talk with members of the audience in full costume. A man, face covered in red and black paint, goes around asking each person if they are virgins. And no, he doesn’t mean it like that.
All first-timers to “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” were lovingly referred to as “virgins.” Newbies couldn’t hide as their foreheads were emblazoned with a red lipstick “V” and invited onstage before the show began to participate in an activity.
The featured line of brave Rocky Horror virgins was asked to fake their best orgasm in front of the audience. The first attempt was met with total silence, before an explosion of giggles. But with the help of a member of the cast, on the second try, the first timers attempted their best performance.
“I pretended I wasn’t a virgin my first time, don’t tell,” cast member Ali Cornetti said laughing. She led the charge in faking an orgasm with the first-timers. Cornetti played Columbia in Sunday night’s show and has always been a huge Rocky Horror fan.
“I’ve been doing this as a cast member since 2011, so I’ve seen [the show] at least once every month plus rehearsals. So, I know it pretty well. I’ve played Columbia, Brad and I’ll be playing Rocky in a few months, but I could probably just jump in any role!”
The room was filled with energy from start to finish. From the get-go, despite rules being read out by the cast, it was clear there were going to be no rules at this show. The audience commentary was as colorful as the costume, and certainly isn’t fit to be reprinted here. But, this show is much more than just the chance to dress up with friends.
“I like showing ‘Rocky Horror Picture Show’ every year because not only is it always a good time, but it’s a unique experience where the socially and sexually marginalized can see unapologetic representations of themselves on screen with fellow outsiders. It’s one of the rare places where the dominant culture and queer community can come together and enjoy something so incredibly extreme,” said Mickey Glover, the co-president of Spectrum.
Rocky Horror is a celebration of people from all different backgrounds, and the SMU showing was no exception. Everyone was participating, celebrating and engaged with the movie and each other. Glover went on to point out how a movie this incredibly extreme is something that can be shared by all communities, whether queer or not.
Glover continued, “It’s one of the rare places where dominant culture and queer community can come together and enjoy something so incredibly extreme in a world where queerness often has to be policed or watered down. At Rocky, everyone regardless of their orientation is free to wear golden speedos, feather boas and fishnets without fear or judgment, and that kind of energy can really bring people together.”