Interview with Jessica: The Rocky Horror Show and Musicals

We think conversation is one of the most fun parts of language learning. On Thursdays, we switch languages and ask each other questions to learn more about Tuesday’s topic. Today, Rober interviews Jessica about theater and musicals after she wrote about The Rocky Horror Picture Show. You can read Jessica’s original post here.

Rober: How many times have you been to the Rocky Horror Show at the theater or the movies? Have you ever gotten dressed up to go to the show?

Jessica: I’ve seen it live twice and as a movie at home a handful of times. I didn’t really dress up this time, but went with the theater department in high school, most people dressed up. It’s easy enough to throw on some fishnets and heels. That said, I didn’t do anything special this year. There is always a range of costumes from street clothes, to elaborate stocking and corset ensembles, to copies of character’s costumes.

The costume of one of the main characters, Colombia (Photo credit: Mina Credeur via Wikimedia Commons)

R: What else did you get in the prop bag, aside from the newspaper?

J: It’s a pretty silly list, some items more zany than others. There is rice to throw at the beginning when a couple comes out of the church. Along with the newspapers, you’ll often get water pistols to shoot to make it seem like it’s raining. Sometimes the bags come with flashlights to shine while Brad and Janet are walking looking for a phone and they see a light at the Frankenstein place. One well-known, but pretty cheesy prop is a piece of toast to throw in the air at one point when Dr. Frank N. Furter proposes a toast.

The directions to the Time Warp, which the audience along does with the performers (photo credit: Rossano via flickr)

R: What do you think about Musicals? Did the show have live music?

J: I like musicals, in large part because of the stagecraft and all of the pieces that have to come together to make it work. I think that with a musical, there are so many moving parts that if they aren’t perfectly put together, things can fall flat. As a dancer, the thing that first catches my attention is often the dancing because when directors cast community shows, they often have actors that can sing, but less often ones that are great singers and dancers. There are ways to get past that by having more simple choreography. That was one of the things that impressed me about Rocky Horror. It’s hard to imagine that the whole cast was trained dancers, but the parts where everyone was dancing were well-rehearsed and clean, so they all looked like great dancers. That’s really very rare for local theaters even when they are professional level, like the Montana Actors Theater! The show did have live music. The band was on stage as part of the set. Unfortunately from where I was sitting, I wasn’t able to see them very well.

R: Have you participated in theater shows as an actress or dancer?

J: Not since high school. I performed in a few shows a year during that time. The only real musical that I was part of was the Pajama Game and I was mainly a dancer in that, with some amount of singing. I was in a few more modern plays toward the end of high school. I also did a lot of dancing throughout. We had a a variety show we called the Cabaret Show and I always enjoyed making dances and skits for that.

Nathaniel Rateliff & the Nightsweats in concert at the Kettlehouse Amphitheater

R: How often do you go to see theater performances?

J: A handful of times a year, usually. In the last year, I’ve actually seen quite a few musicals in particular: Broadway’s Aladdin in San Francisco, Chicago on Broadway in New York, an original rock opera called Weightless where a friend was playing drums in the band, and of course, The Rocky Horror Show. Actually, all of these were quite good, even after having high expectations for the Broadway shows. In the end, though, I was probably most impressed by the last two, because they were by smaller professional companies and have fewer resources to work with. 

Title image photo credit: Robin Adams via Wikimedia Commons

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