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Rocky Horror: UNF does The Time Warp again

The Rock Horror Picture Show premiered in 1975. Graphic by Caitlyn Broylws
The Rock Horror Picture Show premiered in 1975, and has had a cult following since then.
Graphic by Caitlyn Broyles

“If you are timid, scared, and feel you’re gonna be offended by this, it’s OK, you just go ahead and stand the f— up but be careful ‘cause that stick in your a– might break off!”

This is what the emcee of The Rocky Horror Picture Show eagerly announced to the excited and slightly uncomfortable crowd as the show was about to start.

The crowd cheered, screaming and shouting their approval. It was clear that The Rich Weirdoes acting troupe was at it again.

On Oct. 3, Osprey Productions put on The Rocky Horror Picture Show at the Lazzara Performance Hall in the Fine Arts Center for the seventh year. During the show’s history at UNF, it has gained its own cult following on campus. An hour before the show was set to start there was already a long line of dedicated fans itching to get a good seat.

“It’s interesting, raunchy,” UNF student Lauren Reynolds said. “It’s cool.”

This isn’t the first time that The Rich Weirdoes came to campus to perform and ad-lib the classic cult film onstage. I decided (and by decided I mean was forced) to attend the show last year as a RHPS “virgin.” This time, I came to the show not just willingly but eagerly, dragging other woeful “virgins” as well, and the experience was just as exciting.

Campus students from all walks of life came out to participate in the R-rated night filled with bawdy jokes, rough language, kinky sex puns and rock n’ roll. Several members of the audience were decked out in their finest lingerie, highest heels, gothic attire and heavy make-up.

The emcee divided the students into “veterans” and “virgins.” While veterans like myself waited for prop bags, my virgin friends were ushered into another line and waited to have a big V marked on their forehead.

Students and guests experience The Rocky Horror Picture Show featuring The Rich Weirdoes. Photo by Tyler LaMay
Students and guests experience The Rocky Horror Picture Show featuring The Rich Weirdoes.
Photo by Tyler LaMay

“The show was good,” UNF student Tyler Feeley said. “The last time I came, the sound was really off, but this time it was alright. I would come back.”

Walking into the Lazzara, the first thing I could see was the show’s trademark giant red lips on the projection screen onstage. The cast and crew were scurrying about on the stage, getting props in place and throwing glowsticks and beach balls to the greedy hands in the audience.

From my place in the front row, I could turn around and see that the entire lower half of the Lazzara was completely packed. Whenever one faces a crowd, I was told, that it always helps to picture them in their underwear. Today, I didn’t need to imagine it; it was right in front of me.

To kick off the show, The Rich Weirdoes did something completely new: the thriller dance. The classic Michael Jackson hit was greeted with thunderous applause from the crowd. The dance led into a more traditional opening act: the “virgin sacrifice.”

As per tradition, The Rich Weirdoes pulled six virgins onstage to get them into the hilarity and bold erotica that is Rocky Horror. Only this year, the Weirdoes gave this year’s “virgin sacrifice” a Freudian twist where the six were required to make orgasmic sounds while saying their father’s names.

As someone who is close to her father, I couldn’t imagine how uncomfortable the poor souls onstage had to be, making noises that you didn’t even want your roommates to hear. But if the sacrifices were uncomfortable, you never would have guessed: they were into it. The rush of being onstage inspired their performances, making it difficult for the audience to choose a winner. It ended up being a tie.

After this awkward but hilarious display, the show commenced and the audience members were pulled into The Rich Weirdoes’ onstage world.

The Weirdos shamelessly involved the audience in their commentary, whether it was standing next to students as they did “The Time Warp” dance, screaming obscenities at them or running through the aisles and jumping into people’s laps.

“For me, I hope that the audience members get the message that it’s OK to be weird, that it’s OK to let loose and have fun for a little while,” cast member Rebecca Stubblefield, who played Columbia, said. “Just because you’re weird, doesn’t mean you can’t find a group and be weird with them.”

Rocky Horror has been a cult classic ever since it was made in the 1970s. The question is: 30 years later, why has it become such a phenomenon?

“I personally think that it was so underrated, and then all of a sudden it just became popular because everyone’s like, ‘Oh this movie sucks, this movie sucks!’ and then all of a sudden everyone just fell in love with the awkwardness that is Rocky Horror,” Jullian Dunigan, who played Magenta, said.

The show is not performed like a traditional musical. It relies on participation from the audience. According to Dan Harker, who plays Brad, the fact that the show has been performed this way is part of the essence of Rocky Horror.

“When it was originally starting to become a cult success, it just kind of snowballed and happened organically as people started to mimic and yell at the screen. Then it just kind of grew from there,” Harker said. As the show came to an end, I turned to my now de-virginized friends while they sang along to the “Science Fiction/Double Feature,” and saw that they too were now filled with the essence of everything Rocky Horror.

From the words of the criminologist character from the movie: “A night out, it was a night out that they would remember for a very long time.”

Email Erica Santillo at [email protected]

Email Tyler LaMay at [email protected]

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