Creatures of the Night
- By gentleguide
- On Sat 14 Oct 2017
When you’re known as the group that will put on the wildest shows in town, an annual theatre presentation of The Rocky Horror Show would be considered almost a necessity. And that’s exactly what Kata Klysmic Productions is doing, starting October 20th and going through October 29th. Halloween weekend.... how fitting! I’m shivering with antici...... pation!
Let’s Do the Time Warp Again!
This is the second time around for Kata Klysmic and Rocky Horror. In fact, Rocky was their very first production for the group two years ago. Of course, The Rocky Horror Show is a well-known and well-loved classic, ever since the movie version became the mandatory midnight show back in the seventies. So Kata Klysmic has decided that Rocky will be their signature show, and will hopefully be a regular feature of their season schedule for years to come.
Of course, that doesn’t mean everything stays the same. This year’s production is very different from the presentation two years ago. There’s a new cast, new costumes, new sets and lights, and an all new experience of an old favorite. There are, quite literally, lots of new shoes to fill....
In fact, there’s only one actor from that previous show in the current troupe. Emily Davis was a chorus member two years ago, and is playing Magenta in this year’s ensemble. It’s just one of many roles she’s played this past year, including in Oleanna at Tallgrass, Young Frankenstein and A Chorus Line at the DM Playhouse, and directing The Vagina Monologues for Kata Klysmic.
“It’s a fresh experience doing this show again as a completely different character, and that gets me energized,” says Emily. “This cast is so supportive and fun and so lovely to work with.”
“It’s the strangest going from A Chorus Line playing Kristine to Rocky Horror playing Magenta. Those characters are quite literally worlds apart, and that’s a fun challenge from an acting standpoint.”
Emily is also taking over the choreography duties for the current production. And it’s a far different thing from what she just came from in A Chorus Line.
“One thing I took from Chorus Line is to choreograph for your dancers. Steps can be easy but look complicated. The goal is to make your dancers look good and give them tools for their process. In Chorus Line we were dancers auditioning for a Broadway show. We were to be professionals and all be extremely unison. For Rocky Horror we’re a crazy bunch of misfits that may not belong to this world, so the dancing can look crazy and unique to the characters.”
Don’t Dream It, Be It!
The phenomenon of Rocky Horror, and its long-lasting appeal, has been around for about twice as long as some of the current cast has been alive, and yet it’s continued to connect with new generations and new audiences. And as audiences and social norms have changed, so has Rocky, at least in the way that Kata Klysmic will be presenting the show. It’s pretty much an open secret that Rocky, in this production, is a rather petite female (played by Samantha Arenson, who most recently played Dorothy in Kata Klysmic’s summer production of The Wizard of Oz). Some have wondered how that change will play out in this version.
One of the characters most affected by this change in casting is the initially naive Janet (who comes to learn a LOT more about herself, Rocky, and all the other denizens of this strange place!) Played by Lauren Malcomson, the fact that Rocky is female is just one more thing to discover.
“I think one of the coolest things for me,” says Lauren, “is that this adds another layer to Janet’s character. Now she’s not only discovering her sexual freedom thanks to Frank, but it’s also led her to a discovery of her own sexuality: she’s pansexual. She’s reached a level of sexual freedom and identity that many people didn’t, at that time in history [when Rocky Horror first debuted], have the freedom to explore as widely as she does. And that definitely makes her a more interesting and well rounded character in my opinion.”
Lauren also loves the fact that this is a show that can connect with everyone in attendance, much more than the movie version can.
“I think a live show illustrates the essential fact of Rocky, that without the energy and participation of an audience, it feels incomplete. Rocky, to me, is more about the audience watching it than it is about any specific character. The audience participation completes the show, and is what makes it so personal to each individual audience member.”
And, as is traditional with Rocky Horror, the audience is encouraged to join in the fun, and “call out” lines and bits have developed over the years for audiences of both the movie and stage versions.
“This has been very fun show to work on in one respect, simply because of how often during runs of the show members of the cast and crew are actually doing the call-outs. It’s hilarious and very hard not to break character and laugh at, but having that as a constant helps you get used to it.”
“During our midnight show, we will be selling prop bags, but during all our shows we are aware [of the audience call-outs] and, while I can’t speak for everyone, I’m very excited to hear the audience call-outs. As long as the heckling doesn’t get too out of hand, I’m excited about it and I’m sure it’ll be an awesome addition to the show.”
I’d Like to Propose a Toast!
For those with experience with the midnight movie phenomenon, Kata Klysmic is presenting a midnight show on the night of Saturday October 28th. For this special performance, tickets will ONLY be available at the door, and it will be even more wild than usual, according to Emily.
“The midnight show is open to anyone who buys the cover to the bar that night, so instead of a drag show, they will stumble onto our production! In general we have our assistant director saying some of the movie calls to us in case we have people who know them, which I hope we do!”
“The midnight show is generally more rowdy and we will probably play some games with the crowd before the performance. Last time we did games I led them, and it was all fun until I took a step off the back of the stage and fell off! I did that show and the last one with a broken foot, but our lovely drunk fun-loving audience didn’t notice. It’s a fond memory from round one!”
Be careful this time, Emily. It’s just a jump to the left....
It’s astounding. Time is fleeting. Madness takes its toll. Kata Klysmic Productions invites you to come up to the lab and see their new creation of The Rocky Horror Show at The Garden Nightclub. Performances begin Friday October 20th and run through Sunday October 29th, with tickets available through Midwestix.com. A special midnight show (with tickets only available at the door) will be presented on Saturday night October 28th.