“Rocky Horror Picture Show” is a cult classic film from 1975, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. Many well-known actors star in the film, including Tim Curry, Meat Loaf and Susan Sarandon.
A shadow cast is a film projected onto a screen with actors reenacting their corresponding roles from the film on stage.
The Framingham State cast included Cameron Raia as Doctor Frank-N-Furter, Hannah Nielsen as Janet Weiss, Colleen Jenkins as Brad Majors, Olivia Milliken as Magenta, Mikaela Green as Columbia, Ross Grenier as Riff Raff, Adam Tackes as Rocky Horror, Jace Williams as Dr. Everett V. Scott, Adam Scanlon as Eddie and Jessica Sokel as The Criminologist.
Director Kyle Torres informed the crowd that they could use the traditional call-outs, their phones during the song “Over at the Frankenstein Place” and taught them how to do the “Time Warp.” He also led many call backs for those who didn’t know them.
Each actor nearly matched their film counterpart, including Green’s dyed red hair and Raia’s completely natural black curly hair, which closely resembled Tim Curry’s from the film.
The crowd participated in call outs, including calling Janet Weiss a “slut” and Brad Majors an “asshole.” There was also a round of applause following Raia’s performance of “Sweet Transvestite” which included whistling and cat calls.
The tradition of initiation of first time “Rocky Horror” viewers involved the audience participation in a wedding scene in the beginning of the movie. A crowd member, Jonathan Nixon, was chosen to wear a bride’s dress for the wedding scene in the beginning of the film.
As the film progressed, the actors used the entire space of the Forum for a chase scene in which Raia “killed” Scanlon, who rode a bicycle around the back of the audience. The cast moved through the audience during the final scenes where Milliken and Grenier admit they are aliens trying to get back to their home in Transylvania.
A crowd favorite was the “Time Warp,” a dance in which the audience participates along with the actors. The song instructs the dancers to “jump to the left,” “step to the right,” “put their hands on their hips,” bend their knees in and finish with three pelvic thrusts.
“The whole experience was unique. It was unlike anything that I had done before. I have been in theater for 10 years both on and off stage and it was different than anything I’d ever done,” said Assistant Director and Producer James Buonopane. “It’s not just about the show itself, it’s about the experience…When you’re watching a shadow cast you’re focusing not just on the movie and the actors in front of you, but also the audience and the interaction the audience has with the cast. This isn’t just some other show that’s being put on, it’s a full event that’s happening.”