"Rocky Horror" gets intimate with audience

“The Rocky Horror Show” has arrived at Geneseo offering a shameless, unbridled experience from start to finish. Directed by senior Jacky Hellreich, students will perform the show on Friday May 1 and Saturday May 2 at 7:30 p.m. in Sturges Auditorium.

The cult classic follows young lovers Brad Majors and Janet Weiss—played by juniors Tyler Thier and Isabella Dixon—as they navigate the sex-crazed world of Dr. Frank N. Furter—played by senior Brodie Guinan—a “sweet transvestite from Transsexual, Transylvania.”

“Rocky Horror” tackles themes of extreme lust and power all while providing the audience with a musical backdrop to make their immersion into the bizarre universe of phantom dancers more comfortable. Even those unfamiliar with the show will recognize the catchy tune “Time Warp,” as well as the classic opening number “Science Fiction Double Feature.”

The show begins with the young and hopeful Brad and Janet getting a flat tire late at night. The only place to seek help is a daunting castle inhabited by Furter and his servants. As the young couple accepts Furter’s invitation of “hospitality,” they soon realize they are trapped inside an immoral, sex-crazed environment.

Their growing suspicions are confirmed when the mad scientist reveals the experiment he’s been working on in his laboratory—a living muscle man named Rocky who serves to fulfill the doctor’s wildest sexual fantasies. Here, Guinan delivers a solid performance of “I Can Make You a Man,” further demonstrating the perverse motives of Furter.

Despite the playful way that the first act mixes innuendos and pokes fun at sub-par science fiction films of the 70s, things take a darker turn in act two. Brad and Janet are shown to separate bedrooms where Furter seduces them. Furter poses as Janet while visiting Brad, then impersonates Brad while visiting Janet.

Hellreich felt it was valuable to portray both the surface fun and games of the show as well as address the more unnerving, sensitive elements such as sexual abuse. “The show confronts sexual violence and being on a college campus. We wanted to take a more serious approach to the comical way that it is presented in The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” she said.

Guinan was glad to meet the challenge of entering the corrupt psyche of Furter. He successfully represented the doctor’s power-hungry attitude while maintaining an air of sarcasm, portraying him as a rather amicable character overall. He brought the doctor to life by convincing the audience of his sinister desires.

“He wanted everyone to be free as long as he could still control them,” Guinan said. He was happy to tackle a well known classic “without a blown-out production—we wanted it to be accessible to the student body,” he added.

Sturges Auditorium provides the ideal space for “Rocky Horror” since the show relies on fostering an intimate relationship between the actors and audience members.

Be sure to sit near the front if you’re ready to enter this wacky world of sex, glamour and science fiction.