WALLACE — For the second year in a row, the Sixth Street Theatre hosted a special Audience Participation Edition of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” this last Saturday.
The event is the brainchild of Rocky Horror enthusiast Sean Shelley, who (prior to last year’s first edition) has always wanted to host an event similar to this after hearing about them being done all over the country.
“I have always loved the movie, and I knew that attending one of the audience participation showings was on my bucket list,” Shelley said. “However, with Spokane (The Garland Theater) being one of the closest showings, I knew that I didn’t want to attend a late showing — especially with travel time and the lateness of the event. Therefore, I figured that we could do it here.”
After approaching the theater’s board of directors, Shelley got permission to put on the event and has used it as a fundraiser for the theater.
The concept is a simple one too.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show — Audience Participation Edition is a special showing of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” (1975) at which each audience member receives a bag of props necessary for them to “participate” in the performance.
There was also a costume contest before the showing of the movie where audience members could dress as their favorite character.
“The Rocky Horror Picture Show” has cultivated a cult-like status over the years and its mix of humor, horror and catchy musical numbers makes it easy to see why this event would be one that people would flock to.
Shelley believes that the film brings a sense of inclusion with it, while also being a fun experience for people to cut loose and show off their outrageous side.
“This movie, by its very nature, creates a fun and accepting environment. It is a cult classic. I mean, the movie came out in 1975, and it is still selling out midnight showings across the country,” Shelley said. “One of the songs has the lyric, ‘Don’t dream it. Be it!’ I think this movie speaks to many people and allows them to simply have fun and get caught up in the festivities. For a couple of hours, you get to dress up (in a weird and outrageous costume), go hang out with people who love the movie just as much as you do, sing along with the songs, shout things at the screen, and even throw toast, rice and confetti. People are encouraged to be themselves, and they are surrounded by those willing to accept them for simply that fact.”
Each participant receives a bag of props upon entering.
Some of the items in the bag include a party hat to wear when the characters on the screen are having a dinner party, a squirt gun to help simulate rain when the characters are walking in the rain, and even a piece of toast to throw at the screen when one of the main characters proposes a toast during a dinner scene.
“Believe it or not, it is a lot of fun sitting in the dark and having toast, rice or confetti fly over your head,” Shelley said.
Also, people are encouraged to dress up in whatever outlandish costume they want, as well as to get in on the dialogue of the movie.
“The costume contest before each showing really was a wonderful showcase of talent and creativity,” Shelley said. “People really get into the spirit of the movie. Finally, there are also lines the audience can learn and shout at the screen. It really is a fun experience when the audience comes together in appreciation of this movie.”
Shelley’s favorite part of the night is watching folks actually get involved, which is part of his motivation for creating and continuing the event.
“It is a fun and accepting environment, and people help keep this movie alive,” Shelley said. “They experience the movie and the event, and I really believe that is what Rocky Horror has become; it is an experience that only comes alive when you are in a theater full of ‘regular Frankie fans.’”
It’ll be another year until the next showing, so if you’re looking for a good time next October, mark your calendars and you shall receive it, IN ABUNDANCE!