On Friday night, Bwogger Victoria Arancio decided to put down her drink and enjoy a Halloween classic: Rocky Horror Picture Show. Hear what she has to say about CMTS’ modern spin on a cult favorite.
While Thursday night might have started off my Halloweekend, it really didn’t feel like Halloween until I walked down the steps to the Diana Event Oval. There I was met with a strange sense of school spirit as I gazed upon the Rocky moviegoers: dressed up and buzzing with excitement as they waited for the doors to open. With students dressed up in just about every costume imaginable, I felt out of place with my stained and unlaundered Columbia sweatshirt, an obvious sign that I watched the sun set inside of Butler. I found my friends and ushered them into the Event Oval, found seats, and sat down.
I was excited to be surrounded by people so passionate about a tradition. While this was CMTS’ fifth annual Rocky Horror Picture Show, it seemed to me like this was something embedded in Columbia culture. The show seemed like it was fit and tailored to the nature of our community. The show started late, as more people continued to funnel their way into the room, trying to find the closest seat to the action that was about to unfold on stage. The first time I went to see Rocky was in my friend’s backyard; the show seems to have that effect on people, one where they recall their “first time.” I made endless virgin jokes and tagged my friend with a red “V.” My friend and I cheered her on once she went on stage and uncomfortably tried to sound an orgasm.
CMTS started the show off strongly: with jokes that were relatable, some Columbia centered, and timed perfectly, the show proved promising. Throughout the production, one theme was blatantly clear: inclusivity. Whether it was inviting all of the Rocky virgins onto the stage to celebrating gender nonconformity, the show recognized what makes Columbia different: its diversity and willingness to test the boundaries. With people shouting, singing and dancing throughout the show, it was messy, but in a perfectly acceptable way. You could tell that the actors were really enjoying being up on stage, and the enthusiasm translated into cheers and laughs from the audience.
The call outs—some Columbia related, most sexual—were distractingly fun. What Rocky Horror shows normally demand is a small audience in a smaller venue; while the Event Oval lacked the necessary intimacy, the performance and interaction with the audience made me feel as though I was on stage with them. The costumes, props, and makeup fit the show well, reviving the 41-year-old film that is a staple of American culture. It would have been easy for them to put on a generic and expected Rocky Horror performance, but CMTS took the opportunity to make the show reflect Columbia culture. A lot of time, thinking, and work went into the performance, but the execution appeared effortless.
The actors performed with tenacity during their time on stage. The show naturally lends itself to wild acting that feeds into the audiences’ admiration for the show. Every time I re-watch Rocky Horror, it feels like I’m watching it for the first time. Last night was no different: if anything, the fact that fellow students graced the stage made the dated piece relatable, and went even further to make it matter. It’s one thing to reenact history by staying mainstream, but its another when the story is reinvented and brought into the 21st century.
Recently, I have experienced nuanced ways to understand “community” and “school spirit.” It started with excitement over Columbia Football’s undefeated season, later with sitting in JJ’s for the first time sober, and finally with this performance that embraced every part of who we are. CMTS’ Rocky Horror Picture Show was a reflection of how far we’ve come, and a great visual example of where we’re headed. Will football continue to win? I hope so. Will I continue to patronize JJ’s sober? Probably not. Will “Touch-a, Touch-a, Touch-a, Touch Me” be stuck in my head for the rest of this Halloweekend? Absolutely.
Photos taken by Aliya Schneider