Never the same show twice

Are there any virgins in the house? If you have never seen “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” in the cinema, then you are considered a virgin.

“The Rocky Horror Picture” is a campy, fun slice of cinema. Brad and Janet have just gotten engaged and are off to see their mentor Dr. Scott when they get a flat tire. This is when all hell breaks loose and every sexual taboo is taken for a ride around the time warp carousel.

Something to know before you go to a screening of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” be prepared for zany antics. The show starts with a cry to the audience asking for all the virgins to step to the front of the house. From there the group is split up into two groups: those who are 18 and over, and those who are under 18. Each group was given a task to perform that would serve as their rite of passage to “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” experience.

In the particular show that I went to, the under-18 “virgins” were told to get on their knees and beg the audience’s forgiveness for having never participated in a Rocky Horror Picture experience. The other group was split up and told that they would have to battle each other. The challenge was to see which group could fake the best orgasm.

Another form of audience participation is dancing “The Time Warp.” This dance involves a jump to the left, a step to the right and a pelvic thrust. The audience gets up from their seats to do a group version of the time warp during the film.

Rachel Manning, a junior electronic media and broadcasting major from NKU, likes to attend Rocky Horror screenings.

“I’d definitely say my favorite is everyone doing ‘The Time Warp’ in the aisles because every musical theatre addict has that dream of living in a world where everyone sings and dances and everyone knows the chorus and the choreography,” Manning says. “‘The Time Warp’ is a chance to make that world a reality.”

Audiences also get the chance to talk back at the screen. This form of audience participation involves audience members ad-libbing lines along with the film. For example whenever someone says “Brad Majors” in the movie, the audience yells back, “asshole.” When Janet Weiss is spoken, they say, “slut.” Talk-back is very detailed and extensive, ranging from words, phrases and several lines of dialogue. Audiences also have the option to yell back any improvised lines that they come up with at the screen.

According to Manning, viewing the film at a screening is very different from viewing it at home.

“It’s raunchier, rowdier, and of course, more demanding of its audience,” Manning said. “But if people want to go that extra step, it can definitely be a fun night out with friends that you’ll never forget.”

Audience members can come dressed as their favorite characters from “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” Outfits are sexy, revealing and provocative. It’s all part of the experience to come as your favorite character, but it is not mandatory.

A live reenactment of the movie by costumed performers is also part of audience participation. Audience participation varies from venue to venue.

The Esquire Theatre in Clifton, Ohio has midnight showings every other Saturday. The Esquire hires performers from The Denton Affair, a group of actors that have been performing “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” at theaters in the Cincinnati and Dayton area since 1979.

“The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” written by Richard O’Brien, started as a stage production in 1973.  NKU opens with their interpretation of the play on Oct. 28.

Audience participation will be allowed, although there are guidelines on what you can and can’t do. Items that will not be allowed include: water pistols, outside food items such as toast or hot dogs, rolls of toilet paper, cigarette lighters or other open flames.

Michael Hatton, the director of NKU’s production of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” thinks that audience participation is an important part of the experience.

“Audience members are encouraged and welcomed to dress up for the performances as they would for the film version of the musical,” Hatton said. “The only guidelines are that the costumes shouldn’t expose genitalia or break local decency laws.”

“Many elements of the audience participation will be lovingly preserved,” Hatton said. “I can’t give any details or I’ll spoil some of the surprises.”

For more information on “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” times at the Esquire Theatre, visit their web site at NKU’s production of The Rocky Horror Show runs from Oct. 28 through Nov. 7. Information about show times and prices can be accessed online at

Story by Shawn Buckenmeyer