LINDSEY FIALA | Culture Editor
The Rocky Horror Show is taking the stage this week with outstanding lighting, an incredible set and a cast that is ready for anything, said Janet Strzelec, director of the show.
The show follows a young couple, Matthew Hansen as Brad and Emily Friesen as Janet, after their car breaks down on a stormy night and they resort to finding help at the mansion of Dr. Frank-N-Furter, played by Weston Lundy.
“As their innocence is lost, Brad and Janet meet a houseful of wild characters, including a rocking biker and a creepy butler. Through elaborate dances and rock songs, Frank-N-Furter unveils his latest creation: a muscular man named “Rocky,” according to Lindenwood’s website.
Strzelec has directed several shows in the past but hasn’t recently due to her role as head of the dance program. However, when Strzelec found out that Lindenwood was putting on the show, she jumped at the chance to direct it.
She said that directing the show has been tough because of how well known the show is.
“It’s interesting because people have a lot of preconceived ideas about what should happen and a lot of it we just have to let go,” Strzelec said. “The big job for me was to clean it up a little bit and make it more accessible to more people because when you take some of the nastiness out, and they listen to the music, they fall in love.”
While Strzelec cleaned up the show some, she left a lot of what makes Rocky Horror what it is in the show.
“We did what we call the sex scene,” she said. “Nowadays people are more sensitive and theater companies are starting to do more work with intimacy calls and making sure that the actors are comfortable with what they are doing. It’s not just a matter of cleaning it up for the audience but it’s making sure you don’t make your actors uncomfortable.”
Zachary Garcia, who plays a phantom, said that the case was able to really make the show their own with the guidance of Strzelec. She left a lot of room for creativity and was there to give the final OK on things.
According to Garcia, the show explores gender and sexuality, and it can make the audience a little bit uncomfortable, which is one of the points of acting. It helps the audience to understand the performance and become engrossed in it.
The cast was able to interact with the audience in a way none of them have ever been able to do before, according to Allison Arana, who plays a phantom. Everyone is watching from all sides of the room. She said it was a great learning experience for the whole cast being able to perform on the round set up.
Lundy said there was something to learn from each of the characters in Rocky Horror.
“What I have learned the most from playing Dr. Frank-N-Furter is that loving and accepting yourself completely makes you the strongest version of yourself,” he said. “When we let go of fear and shame about who we are, we literally unleash all of the strongest aspects of ourselves. Self-love is the most meaningful gift we can give.”
The sold out show is playing all this week, with performances on March 27 and 28 at 7:30 p.m., March 29 at 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. and March 30 at 7:30 p.m. in the Emerson Black Box Theater in the J. Scheidegger Center.