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San Jose Spartan Daily article, February 2, 2011

Cult classic 'horrifies' downtown crowd



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Singing, dancing, between the legs sword relay and explosive streams of profanity characterized a midnight live action performance of the "Rocky Horror Picture Show" at Camera 3 in downtown San Jose.

Put on by the Barely Legal Rocky Horror Picture Show cast, the ‘shadow cast' performance features the film playing on a full size movie theater screen while real actors simultaneously emulate the actions and dialogue of their cinematic counterparts.

The event very nearly sold out and attendee Adam Schroyer said that these shadow casts are often very popular.

"This is the cult event of all cult events," he said. "'The Rocky Horror Picture Show' has always been the biggest of all the cult (phenomena)."

"The Rocky Horror Picture Show," for those unfamiliar, is a 1975 cult classic film directed by Jim Sharman.

The film is written in musical style and the characters frequently break out into song and dance — an effect which is enhanced by the actors and audience, many of whom know the words to all the songs.

The plot follows a newly engaged couple as they enter into the castle of a flamboyant mad-scientist. The resulting film is largely centered around the various characters' sexual escapades.

The film itself, however, often takes a backseat role to the actors and the audience, many of whom are regular attendants.

Actor Mark Brown said that the audience often plays a vital role in these shadow cast performances.

Many audience members have memorized the script and call out humorous and often obscene set ups to dialogue within the film. For example, during a moment of brief silence, an audience member might shout out, "How do you make a hot dog taste better?" to which Tim Curry on screen would reply, "use a bit of mustard."

Brown said the fact that different theater audiences call out different jokes during the dialogue makes going to see these shadow casts a very unique experience. "(The Rocky Horror Picture Show) is not something you're meant to sit down and watch," Brown said. "It's meant to be actively experienced."

This certainly holds true, because if you are expecting to sit down and watch a movie quietly, this event does not meet the criteria.

The dialogue is at times difficult to hear over the audiences' cries at the screen, and the actors will often add their own flavor into specific scenes through use of props or dancing.

Beyond that, there is not much room in Camera 3 to create a very serviceable stage and there were clearly moments where the actors needed more room.

Barely Legal does an excellent job with the costumes, replicating the on-screen likenesses often to near perfection.

The experience itself is certainly a unique one and very interactive.

The cast often encourages audience involvement flinging various items of candy and other projectiles into the crowd.

They also solicit cheers or jeers, and often interact very personally with members of the front row or the aisles.

Many members of the audience dress up in costume themselves, or provide their own props, such as noise-makers for the birthday scene, or glow sticks for the "Over at the Frankenstein Place" song.

There is also an introduction section to the event which includes warm-up games for "virgins" to the "Rocky Horror Picture Show" and music.

Orgasm faking, swearing at birthday attendants and "the butt dance" constitute only a portion of the initial activities.

Co-director of the production Nate Havoc said that these shadow casts are becoming increasingly popular due to the 35th anniversary of the release of the "Rocky Horror Picture Show."

"It's a movie, it's a play and it's a party all wrapped into one," Havoc said. "It's a good environment to come in, meet people, and hang out. You meet all these people, and you see them again next (performance)."

Performer Brian O'Hara said that he was a member in the audience for five years before he decided to try to take a more active role in the production.

Barely Legal will be returning to Camera 3 to perform the "Rocky Horror Picture Show" on the last Saturday of every month at midnight for $10.








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