Students shadowcast “Rocky Horror”


Mira Cummings

Matthew Akre, AKA Tiffany Blue, as Venus performing the opening act of Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Grey Caoili, Staff Reporter

Students took the stage and performed the comedic science-fiction horror musical “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” in it’s third annual performance.

The event took place Last Friday, Oct. 26 in the SURC Ballroom.

“[Shadow casts are] what we do… The movie plays and then we reenact the movie in front of it,” said Student Director and Producer Libby Akin “[In the 1970s] this movie premiered and people really hated it… so they would go to the movie and haze it.” This type of so-called hazing slowly evolved the films’ reenactment over time into “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” that is commonly known today.

Akin has been in charge of running the show  since its original conception back in 2016. Akin first got the idea to produce the show while working as a first-year residence assistant (RA) in Moore Hall.

According to Akin, “it was like all fate.” Two years ago, Akin and fellow Moore Hall RA Emily Danko were hanging up posters together when Danko mentioned a past program she ran, Rocky Horror. Danko explained to Akin that she had put on Rocky Horror as one of her programs for her residents and that 70 people showed up. Pleasantly surprised at the turnout, Akin realized she could partner up with Danko and produce a lively spin-off in the form of a shadowcast.

From it’s inception two years ago, CWU’s “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” has only improved. According to Akin, student popularity, involvement, funding and production support are all areas of improvement, but it wasn’t always like that. In the first year, the cast did not have reserved practice space on campus, proper funding, costumes or hair and makeup experts.

“The first year we were rehearsing in basements… carrying props two miles. To rehearse in someone else’s dorm at like one in the morning,” Akin said.

This year’s cast had three six-hour-long rehearsals. Each day covered something new that needed to be learned. The first rehearsal consisted of teaching and learning all of the choreography. The second rehearsal was where the casts could learn and watch the film followed by the final rehearsal of running through the show.

“They’ve only had three shots to learn all this stuff,” Akin said,

“And to come out here in their costumes …their heels …the lights and half of these people have never even been on stage… is really high octane… which is really wonderful.”

Mira Cummings
Rocky Horror Picture Show’s director, Libby Akin (senior).

Open auditions were held on Sept. 28 in the SURC Ballroom with huge success. A total of 20 students were chosen for the show’s cast, an increase from last year’s cast of 12.

“We got to pull from a really wide variety of people, and talent, and majors,” Akin said.

The cast itself ranged from first-year students to seniors, inexperienced to experienced performers and all body sizes, alot of shapes and colors. Olivia Kneal is a first-time cast members of the show and testaments of the diversity in this year’s cast; Kneal is a first-year student majoring in paramedicine.

According to Kneal, she hasn’t done any type of stage performance since elementary school with the exception of two years of drama class in high school.

“I feel very welcomed here… I feel like I can just be myself without any judgment,” Kneal said, “Everybody here is fabulous.”

Another cast member, Kaela Buffum-Hogan, is a junior performing arts major student. When asked about there favorite part of the show, Hogan talked about body positivity being one of her most memorable experiences of production

“My favorite thing is… how body positive the entire like production is. You come into rehearsals and everyone is like we don’t care what body type you are, we don’t care how you look, dress how comfortable you wanna be, do the dance you wanna do,” Buffum-Hogan said

Along with reinforcing body positivity, Buffum-Hogan explained her appreciation for the shows experimentation of different forms of gender expression and sexuality.

Mira Cummings
Erin Glaman as Janet Weiss, Alex Splatts as Brad Majors, Max Ellis as Riff-Raff, Sam Campion as Magenta, Rachael Skaggs as Frank Furter, Jordan Kurz as Rocky, and Juliane Luna as Columbia.

According to Buffum-Hogan, she loved how much everyone encouraged everyone to just genderbend.

“I think that’s so important because it doesn’t really matter  what society puts on you or what your sexuality should be and what your gender should be. So I think it’s really awesome that we just have a group of people who are like; embrace what you enjoy, embrace what you love and just show that to everyone.”

When asked about what she wants the audience to take away from the performance this year, Akin ultimately wanted everyone to simply have fun watching, interacting with and experiencing the Rocky Horror Picture Show.

“We’re not here to like shove a message down anyone’s throat, we’re not here to make you feel anything or make you believe anything or make you change your mind. We’re here to expose you to this crazy, vibrant, colorful world with all the people in it.” Akin said.

“We’re here to lead by example… look at all these beautiful people on stage who are diverse, who are confident, who are… secure, who are having a good time and by just being ourselves and having fun we’re showing the way for other people.”

The Rocky Horror event is a great example of what can happen when individuals come together for a common goal and accept everyone for who they are.