Since 2009, The Rocky Horror Club has hosted a midnight showing of “Rocky Horror Shadow Cast” Halloween night at Emens Auditorium, or Pruis Hall, on Ball State University’s campus, with 2022’s event at Emens.
Violet Overstreet, a fifth-year Ball State student with a landscape architecture major and a minor in sustainability who played Brad in the show, talked about the Rocky Horror Shadow Cast and what it means to them.
“Well it’s kind of a family, but it’s also not a family show, but it is creative, just like I mean it’s classic,” Overstreet said. “It's created this whole community that is accepting and open-minded.”
The community Overstreet spoke about was alive and well for the 2022 show. Despite the doors not opening until 10:30 p.m., there was already a line to the street by 10:15 p.m. Audience members were dressed in various different ways, some wearing costumes of characters from the show, others wearing their “regular” clothes.
Overstreet talked about their thought process when auditioning for the show, explaining how nervous they were during their audition.
“I did theater in high school for all four years, but this is my fifth year in college so I haven’t done theater in a very long time, so I was really excited about doing it again,” Overstreet said. “I had thought about doing Rocky Horror in the past but I was like, ‘Ah, I’m not gonna get in, I don’t know the show well enough, I don’t know.’ This year I was like, ‘Why not.’”
This version of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” is different from a typical play. A shadow cast is a production made with the movie playing as the cast lip-syncs the dialogue and songs. What is unique about this production is that unlike other theatrical productions at Ball State, this musical is made up of people who are in all different majors, not just theatre.
“It means a lot to me for the fact that it’s a space where people can come and be authentically themselves, and as a very inside-the-box person this has given me the opportunity to try and reach out a little bit and experiment with some new and different ideas and work with some very talented people,” Director Jacob Czelusta, said. “Especially with a group that isn’t with the School of Theatre and Dance. We can have non-theatre majors in it and people who just love Rocky.”
Jacob Czelusta, a third-year at Ball State and a music education major, shares what he believes to have been the easiest part of working on the show.
“The easiest part of working on the show … would probably be just working with the leads and having a solid board with me so we have all new sets this year, we have some really solid choreography for ‘Science Fiction,’ for ‘Time Warp,’ for ‘Hot Patootie,’ so just being able to have people who are really strong in those areas have made this production amazing,” Czelusta said.
The production team had a member of the cast mark audience members with a red “V” if they were seeing the show for the first time. This was for activities they had planned during the pre-show, which started at 11 p.m., where multiple audience members were put in situations out of their comfort zones with challenges including dancing, costume contests and making erotic animal noises.
There were musical performances such as “Bring Me to Life” by Evanescence, “Mr. Brightside” by The Killers and “That’s Rich” from the Broadway Musical “Newsies”, and more.
After the pre-show, excitement grew within Emens as the lights dimmed down and the song “Science Fiction.”
At shadow casts of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”, there is an audience participation technique called callouts. There are lines that the audience knows to shout out at points during the show to add to the excitement and plotline. For example, every time the Brad and Janet characters introduced themselves, the crowd shouted obscenities at them. The audience also threw things like toilet paper and balloons into the crowd continuing throughout the show.
“I’m most excited for the audience to see how much bigger the scale is this year, [because] like I said before, we have all new set pieces, a bunch of different moving parts [and] it’s not just like a shadow cast that has everyone in costume and that’s it,” Czelusta said.
The stage crew built the actual box that the character Rocky was created in, and used a rainbow flag in this scene to represent what was going into Rocky to bring him to life, and to represent the show's connection to the LGBTQ community.
Kaden Sebastian, a fourth-year animation major with a minor in theatre and painting, who also played Frank N. Furter, talked about the emotional connection Sebastian has to the show and the emotional benefits that come with being involved in the production.
“It feels surreal, this is a childhood dream because my mom showed me Rocky Horror at a very young age and it just felt surreal, it felt correct. It was a dream come true. I love this show so much and if anybody can do this show I highly suggest it, it's just so freeing and liberating, so much fun,” Sebastian said.
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