The denizens of Shafer Alliance Laboratory Theatre, or S.A.L.T., came out to play in fishnets, heels and breastless corsets last Friday night for a midnight showing of the Rocky Horror Picture Show at Shafer Street Playhouse.
In contrast with the more traditionally “rehearsed” Rocky Horror performance, in which a “shadow cast” strives to emulate the onscreen debauchery as accurately as possible, Friday night’s S.A.L.T. production took a more improvisatory approach, with several of the cast not having even watched the film until the previous night.
Keeping in tradition, however, was the approximate one-half of the Playhouse audience marked with scarlet lipstick “V’s” on their foreheads – “virgins,” or Rocky Horror first-timers. Common Rocky Horror practice dictates that the evening’s “virgins” must endure public humiliation of some fashion before the film proceeds.
While the exact form of public humiliation varies from place to place, a paddle spanking is perhaps the most well known; S.A.L.T.’s Rocky Horror, however, went with having the crowd scream “f— you” at the newcomer’s bent-over posteriors.
The featured students in this week’s Interesting People were able to skip out on the ceremony, but just barely – and even then, by technicality.
MEGAN MESZAROS sophomore theatre performance major
DYLAN JASON senior computer science major
NATALIE PETTIT sophomore English major (not pictured)
CT What brings you fine folks out tonight?
MM It’s theatre, and it’s Rocky Horror Picture Show. Last year we left because it was cold outside, and we couldn’t walk around naked.
CT Note: For the past several years, Rocky Horror on the VCU campus has occurred as part of VCU Fall Fest, performed by local year-round Rocky Horror troupe Orgasmic Rush of Lust in the Commons Plaza.
DJ So this is a good temperature.
MM Yeah, this is nice … I mean I’ve never gone to a full one, which is new.
DJ I was kind of worried.
MM I actually got cat-called on the way over here, which is weird.
CT This is your first complete Rocky Horror experience, then.
DJ Yeah, this is the first time.
MM We went to the other – we went, but we had to leave.
DJ What was it, November?
MM Yeah. We had the whole virgin spank thing going on. It was really uncomfortable.
CT It seems Rocky Horror has brought you out not once, then, but twice. What keeps bringing you back?
MM There’s something magical … absolutely freaking magical, about having an entire group of people come together … to look ridiculous.
DJ It’s very true.
MM And it’s – you don’t get it anywhere else. It’s like Halloween in September.
DJ Except … well, no, I guess on Halloween you can crossdress too. But here it’s encouraged to crossdress, I guess.
MM That’s my bra. (indicates DJ’s bra)
DJ I wanted to stuff it, but she didn’t bring anything.
CT Did you request this bra, or–?
DJ No. I just do what she says.
MM And he listens to me.
DJ That’s basically how it all works. I actually just got off work like five minutes ago, and–
MM I walked into ColdStone in this outfit, and I was like, ‘Sup. I have a bra in my purse. I’ll be waiting for you at this address; come alone.’
CT Were you immediately amicable to this idea?
DJ Oh no, I’m all for it. At first they wanted me to put it over my shirt, and I was like, ‘Oh no, we’ve gotta go all the way.’ I actually wanted a thong, but she decided–
CT What, no thong?
MM I don’t have a matching set with the bra. And plus, there’s not one big enough.
NP That would just be uncomfortable for everyone.