Sunday, November 04, 2007

Improv group's annual 'Rocky Horror' event turns 5

(Article I did for the Dakota Student)

Fishnets and aliens take center stage this Halloween at the Empire Arts Center

It's that time of year again in Grand Forks. No I don't mean when the air turns a ripe odor, or when the tap water gets TB colored. I mean the time of year that is Halloween, but more specifically the "Rocky Horror Picture Show".

For those of you unfamiliar with RHPS as an event, it is a gathering of fans that watch the film, but do more than that. The fans actively participate, by reciting the lines out loud, acting out the scenes in front of the screen and anything else that can bring any kind of joy to the experience. Although the RHPS is not the first film to have audience participation, it has become one of the more popular ones. Never since "Debbie Does Dallas" has there been such a large amount of audience participation during a film. The film itself is a rock opera that parodies sci-fi/horror films of it's time. But like any cult movie, it needs a central pull or something that makes the film what it is. That of course is Tim Curry's cross-dressing portrayal of Dr. Frank-N-Furter. The costumes alone could sustain the cult life of the film, but it's his performance that really makes it fun for the audience and the actor's portraying him. It's not a perfect movie by any measure, but cult movies usually aren't and being that it's a musical, the acting is over the top, which some might argue makes the audience participation that much more fun.

This Halloween the Nine and Numb will celebrate its 5th year hosting RHPS at the Empire Arts Center. Kelly Clow, the show director, thinks the Empire is what separates this RHPS from the others.

"It's the venue. We're really grateful that the Empire hosts the event. In many places around the country, that hold this type of event, they usually don't have the facilities or equipment that the Empire has. We have a big stage and a huge screen, which just makes this whole thing that much better and easier to do."

The audience participation is the main attraction of the event. Young or old, the RHPS is meant to be an experience that everyone can enjoy.

The Halloween show is meant to be the big night for the RHPS.

"Halloween night, before the film is shown, at 10 p.m., there will be an improv show done by the Nine and Numb comedy troupe." Clow says.

Prop bags, that one can use during the film, will be sold upon arrival at the Empire. Kelly anticipates a large attendance for the night and hopes to give the audience a night that is a little bit different than previous shows.

"This year we have a female Frank-N-Furter and Rocky which is something special we are doing for the 5th anniversary." Clow said.

All though to someone who hasn't seen the RHPS, that might not come off as something special, but I can assure you it is.
If you're looking to enjoy a peaceful, quite and morally correct night on the town, you won't find it at the RHPS. Whether it's yelling at the screen, yelling at the actors, dressing up as a character, or just dressing up, it's a night fun. RHPS is like the Halloween of films.

Clow advice to newcomers to the show, "It's not for the faint of heart, but it's really an opportunity for the outsider to be an insider and to just have a great time."

Link to article.

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