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The Rocky Horror Picture Show: An unforgettable theatre experience

By Mason McDougall, November 15 2022

The Rocky Horror Picture Show at The Plaza Theatre is a theatre experience everybody should take part in at least once in their lives. This year, the event took place from Oct. 27-31.

Where else but a showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show are you allowed to get up out of your seat in a theatre and dance? Where else are allowed to shout loud obscenities and heckle — and it is actually encouraged? Where else do you have to cover your drinks and popcorn in fear of rice or confetti landing in it? Nowhere else but The Rocky Horror Picture Show at The Plaza Theatre.

I went to the 10 p.m. showing of the Rocky Horror Picture Show, a cult-classic musical film from 1975. I’d be wasting my time giving you a plot synopsis of the film because there isn’t a clear one, and you sure wouldn’t believe me if I began to describe just exactly what happens in the film. It’s best to just watch it for yourself, not knowing what a gaudy and brilliantly entertaining mess you are getting yourself into.

Upon arriving through the doors of Kensington’s famous Plaza Theatre, you can pick up or purchase a prop bag for just $10 filled with all the essentials you will need to fully participate and immerse yourself in the film. The bag comes packed with rice — to throw into the audience during the wedding scene — newspapers, —to cover your head when everyone shoots water guns during a rain scene — toast, — to throw when a character proposes a dinner party “toast” — as well as some other goodies to throw and wear when the time is right in the film. Having a prop bag and taking part is not mandatory, but you are missing out on a highly chaotic, unique and fun experience you will regret not being a part of after the show.

It’s not mandatory to dress up in costumes, but many people do, and they go all out. A popular character to dress up as is Dr. Frank-N-Furter (Tim Curry). These costumes consist of corsets, fishnet stockings, rubber gloves, white makeup and bright red lipstick. A popular couple’s costume is to dress up as the two conservative young lovers, Brad Majors (Barry Bostwick) and Janet Weiss (Susan Sarandon). Majors wears a white t-shirt with white boxers, and Janet sports a white lingerie set, and it’s not uncommon to see couples dressed scantily parading through the theatre. 

One of the highlights of the showing was the shadow cast. The shadow cast has been a staple of The Rocky Horror Picture Show showings for decades. The shadow cast is audience members, usually dressed up as characters, going up on stage in front of the film screen and acting alongside the film. A couple, dressed as Dr. Frank-N-Furter and Rocky, got up on stage and chased each other around the theatre during the scene in which Dr. Frank-N-Furter chases after Rocky in the lab.

During the song and dance number, “The Time Warp,” in which the characters sing out instructions on how to do the Time Warp dance, audience members are encouraged to dance along with the film. If you don’t know how to do the dance, it’s super easy, “it’s just a jump to the left, and a step to the right. With your hands on your hips, you bring your knees in tight.” During this scene, the audience all jumped out of their seats and rushed up on stage to sing and dance along to the film. Once again, you don’t have to get up and dance, but you are definitely missing out if you don’t. Part of the experience is participation, so get up and dance!

When the film ended, the credits rolled, and the lights were turned on, I got a clear glimpse of the wreckage. My clothes were covered in confetti, there was rice in my hair, and toilet paper rolls and pieces of toast surrounded me. I couldn’t help but plaster a smile on my face as I looked over at my friends’ shocked faces as they looked around the room. 

The Rocky Horror Picture Show at the Plaza will forever be my favourite theatre experience.

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