Rocky Horror 40 years Later
June 19, 1973 at the Royal Court Theatre in the Theatre Upstairs, Richard O’Brien’s The Rocky Horror Show opened to an audience of 63 people. Now in 2013, exactly 40 years later, millions of people all over the world have seen the cult classic that is just as relevant as ever!
I can’t say I’m happy that the multiple societal issues Richard O’Brien brings up are still relevant though. You would think that in 40 years society would have developed and evolved so that sexuality, sexual orientation, and gender identification didn’t define and/or alienate a person. Sometimes it makes me sick to my stomach… but please friends, let’s be optimistic about this! We are making baby steps of progress. Like when millions stopped eating Chick-fil-a for being “anti-gay.” Or like a president who supports gay marriage. Or like the guy in this video that you should watch. I think we’re on our way and it makes me so proud.
Anyway, this show speaks volumes to anyone who sees it. I don’t care if they think it’s odd, frightening, amazing, beautiful, WHATEVER… it is all of those things. And that is what makes it so unique. There is always a dialogue and a discourse surrounding this show and I think that’s WONDERFUL, even 40 years later.
Luckily, so so so luckily, I had the amazing opportunity to direct this iconic piece just over a year ago in my senior year at Miami. It turned out to be the most incredible thing that has ever happened to me – I could not have asked for anything more! Here is an excerpt of my director note from the show:
From the lips to the fishnets to the font dripping red blood, Rocky Horror is and will be a cult culture classic forever. There are some who believe that younger generations can’t fully appreciate the meaning behind Rocky, but since its first preview on June 16, 1973, the show has come to be a prominent part of self-discovery for young adults even today.
Rocky Horror has been a part of my life since I was fifteen years old. As a twenty-two year old woman, I look back and can’t help but thank the friends who dragged me to my first midnight show. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to go; it’s just that I had never done or seen anything like it before. They told me: “They’re going to throw rice and toast at you, call you a virgin, and make you do something crazy in front of the whole audience!” That line pretty much summed up my fears. But, I remember waiting in line for my ticket at 11pm, watching as cast members ran around selling trinkets and marking the foreheads of first-timers with red V’s. It was exciting – such a rush! I was able to experience this feeling again with my very own cast. Piecing this show together was the most frightening and exciting thing I have ever done.
I absolutely adore this show and I am 90% sure that it changed my character from the first moment I saw it. Unlike my director’s note above, it occurred to me that the first time I saw this show was not when I was 15, it was ten years ago at the mere age of 13. I was at a sleepover birthday party for a girl I barely knew… but also really wanted to be friends with – us silly girls at that age. The party was a typical 13 year old birthday party – every boys dream – with us girls comparing bra sizes, playing silly games and having pillow fights. As the party went on, Birthday Girl put the movie “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” on as background noise while we talked about silly girly stuff – but it is impossible to not watch that movie if it’s playing. The two girls who knew the lyrics sang along with the opening song “Science Fiction/Double Feature” and I was terrified, mesmerized, and hooked. The party continued around me but I barely took my eyes off the film as it was playing. When the credits started rolling, I didn’t know what to think – none of these social issues had ever been so blatantly represented to me and I was too young to really understand what they meant but I never EVER stopped thinking about them.
Fast forward two years: That’s me at 15, openly enjoying dressing up to see the Rocky Horror show at a movie theater with a shadow cast! That’s what truly started it all for me.
In short, HAPPY 40TH ANNIVERSARY ROCKY HORROR!!!! May you live on forever!!!