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HT: It’s October – ‘Rocky Horror Picture Show’ is waiting for you

Connie Shakalis | H-T Columnist

October 7, 2021


In Indianapolis in my 20s, my ex-hubby, John Carmody, and I would dress in black, climb a tree and wait for the tricking and treating kiddies, howling at them as they passed beneath our oaky perch. It was the era of a new cult movement, born far away in New York City’s Waverly Theatre, involving the musical movie “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”

What began as just another movie in Greenwich Village’s Waverly that 1976 night ended up a tradition. After a few months, audience members began yelling out lines as they watched. In the beginning, people known later as “Rocky Horror pioneers” did it for fun, to get reactions from one another. Of course, other movie-goers embraced it and came up with “counter point dialogue.” This became the norm, with people repeating lines from previous screenings nearly word for word.

That just wasn’t enough. People came wearing costumes. They spoke to the screen. In less than two years, more than 50 venues were playing “Rocky Horror” on weekends at midnight. Local theater folk and fans held conventions; within a year 230 theaters offered the film twice a week.  Fan clubs appeared; so did magazines and posters.

The film tells the story of a random meeting between a straight-laced, repressed couple, Brad and Janet, and a castle teeming with Transylvanian conventioneers who are visiting from planet Transsexual. Brad and Janet become mesmerized with the leading transvestite, Dr. Frank-N-Furter, and fall prey to his charms.

On Oct. 23, Cardinal Stage will present its 16th annual screening of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater, and the warmup act is local drag queen Oriana Peron.

Peron had been working at Cardinal for several years as a designer when someone there discovered her additional talent. She will not only perform prior to the film, she, with help from the audience, will judge the pre-film costume contest.

Don’t worry about complying with a Rocky theme, she said. “Any costume will do.” After all, when Peron was 19, she came as Sailor Moon, or happy-go-lucky student Usagi Tsukino, a fictional super heroine from Naoko Takeuchi’s “Sailor Moon” manga series.

And, yes, Peron won first place.

“I love dressing up. I love Cardinal Stage. And I love that this is a fundraiser,” she said over the phone.

Proceeds go to the IU Credit Union Education Initiative, which promotes interest in theater for audiences of all ages, cultures and backgrounds by giving access to underserved populations.

Beware if you haven’t seen the movie until now. You are considered a Rocky virgin and will receive “de-virginization” before the show starts, under Peron’s guidance.

Bags for the entire interactive event will be available for a small fee, in which you might discover such items as toilet paper or popcorn.

After the show, Peron will no doubt go home to study for her planned 2023 degree in fashion design and metalsmithing.

De-virginization and costume contest begin 30 minutes before the screening. Suggested entry fee for the costume contest is $5 and will be collected immediately prior to the contest.

If you go

WHAT: Cardinal Stage’s 16th annual interactive screening of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”

WHEN: Oct. 23. Pre-film activities begin at 9:30 p.m. Film starts at 10 p.m.

WHERE: Buskirk-Chumley Theater, 114 E. Kirkwood Ave., 812-323-3020.

TICKETS: Advance tickets: $15. At the door: $20.

MORE: Prop bags available for a $5 add-on purchase in advance or in the lobby before the show.