Halloween's Last Stand: Rocky Horror Picture Show Returns to Furman
Halloween is on its way, but without the usual fanfare. Parties, events and small children trick-or-treating in Blackwell are all off the table for this year, but there is one celebration of this spooky season that has not been canceled: Pauper Players' shadow cast of the Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Katherine Valliant, this year’s director, started the tradition of performing a shadow cast of Rocky Horror last year, and the show’s success prompted her to do it again. A shadow cast is where actors perform in front of a screen where the movie (in this case, Rocky Horror) is playing. The performers lip sync with the actors onscreen, dance along with the characters and interact with the audience. Last year, this fun, crazy performance occurred in Daniel Recital Hall, but this year, Pauper Players is taking over the amphitheater.
Rocky Horror is very different from traditional theater. In this show, the audience is supposed to react to the performers, engage with the show and make as much noise as possible. Valliant said, “It’s one of my favorite things I’ve ever done because people get to scream and yell and use huge noisemakers…it was just so fun and so loud and very different than [traditional] theater.” There is nothing subdued or serious about this performance. It is meant to be fun and chaotic.
Of course, the show has been altered to make it safe for both the actors and the audience. Each seat will be pre-set with individually wrapped shakers/noise makers. All of the actors will have character-specific masks and will minimize physical interaction. Audience members will be spread out and ushers will make sure that everyone is spaced out when entering the amphitheater. FUSAB will provide sweet snacks as well, making this a safe holiday extravaganza.
It has not been easy to put this performance together. All rehearsals have to be outside. According to Valliant, “We’ve been practicing on the soccer fields and in G pavilion. It is a challenge when you can’t use the space you’re performing in for rehearsals.” Despite the difficulty of finding consistent rehearsal spaces, Valliant is excited about performing outside. She said, “It has been a lot harder and a lot more expensive, but I’m really excited about the space we have this year. It’s much bigger and it will provide so much more space for actors to run and use their bodies.” A fun show with a lot of personality will be even bigger this year because of the sheer size of the amphitheater.
Even though this year has brought many changes, Valliant said that her actors are more than ready for the challenge: “Pauper Players is unique because we have to be adaptable, which means that we are great for [situations] like this.” In a new environment with new rules, this performance is meant to show that theater can be as fun as ever and that performers can adapt and enjoy theater even during a pandemic.
Rocky Horror is coming to Furman on Oct. 30 at 8:00 pm in the Furman amphitheater. The audience is capped at two-hundred and fifty and the seats will be first come first serve. Valliant’s message to the audience is: “Turn your phones on, use your flashlight, scream and yell and sing along with the music. You’re a part of this too. We’re all coming together to do this.”