Shock Treatment: A “virgins” guide to “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”

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A virgin normally refers to someone who as not engaged in sexual relations. That’s not the case when it comes to The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

For the past nine years, the Polk Theatre has been one of the many theatres that participate in The Rocky Horror Picture Show Halloween festivities. The experience, as they call it, features a live adaptation during a showing of the film.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show is the first and only audience participation movie. Audience members yell back lines at the screen, dress up—well, in this case dress down—and act out the film and throw various props throughout the film.

First timers are considered “virgins”. These are people who have never experienced The Rocky Horror Picture Show in a theatre with a lively audience and an even livelier cast. No, watching the film at home on your TV or laptop doesn’t count.

For “virgins” interested in attending the event, here are a few guidelines you should follow.

First, dressing down is an option, but definitely NOT required. The point of The Rocky Horror Picture Show experience is to be able to be yourself in a non-judgmental setting. Most audience members decide to dress as some of the movie’s characters: Magenta, Dr. Frankenfurt, Janet and Riff-raff. Others like to go in lingerie. One rule applies to the costumes: don’t show up naked.

Another tip with the costumes: you’re going to see some costumes way out of the ordinary. Don’t make fun of someone for “dressing up” at the show; one of the main purposes of the show is to come in costume and be able to express yourself, and your unconditional love for Rocky Horror.

The audience is heavily involved in the show. So, how do “virgins” know when to participate, and what to do? Well, no veteran expects you to know much of anything about participation the first time out. Yes, audience participation is mandatory, but its not expected that “virgins” participate every time. However, there is one major aspect of the show that veterans do expect “virgins” to participate in: the Time Warp. The Time Warp is a dance made famous by the movie. When the scene comes on, the audience gets up and does the dance. If you’ve never heard of the Time Warp before fear not, the song itself explains what the steps are. You can always look up the dance on YouTube to get some practice before the show.

If you’re into participating, just pick up on queues from audience members sitting around you. Most of the sayings screamed throughout the show are somewhat repetitive. For example, whenever the name “Brad Majors” is heard, audience members yell, “a-hole”. This is universal to almost every Rocky Horror performance there is.

Props are highly recommended to bring to the show. The most common props to bring are rice, toilet paper, and a deck of cards. Polk Theatre offers an option where you can buy a bag of props for the show, which you can purchase at the show or prior to it. If you’d like to bring your own, check with the theatre first to see which props are allowed.

Now, if you’re scared of being humiliated because you’re a “virgin” to the show, don’t be…kind of. Usually, there is some sort of ritual for “virgins” that normally involves them going up on stage and reciting a pledge. You have the option of volunteering yourself to go on stage, or a friend may volunteer you. Just be prepared.

Follow this “virgins” guide to The Rocky Horror Picture Show experience for a first time you’ll never forget. The experience will take place twice: once on Halloween night and again on Nov. 1. The pre-show starts at 9 pm and the show will start at midnight. For more information, contact the Polk Theatre.