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"Rocky Horror" returns for the month of October

Just a little bit of an orgy to keep things moving. Photo courtesy of Tommy Kuchulis.

Just a little bit of an orgy to keep things moving. Photo courtesy of Tommy Kuchulis.

This has come up before, but I just wanted to reiterate that most days I feel like an old-ass man. Not just in body, but also in mind. People annoy me and I sometimes think the sun is overrated. If I had a lawn, I guarantee that I would yell at people to remove themselves from it, post haste.

But you know what I love aside from family, movies and a few select people? "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." I've loved it since I accidentally watched it at eight years old. It's one of the few things that would drag me out of the warmth and comfort of my house at midnight to yell at a screen and throw toast at strangers and friends.

This is the third year that the good people at Lonely Fish Production and 2nd Street Theater have done the midnight shadow performances of "Rocky Horror," and I've been to all of them. Instead of just screening the movie or doing the production, they do both simultaneously. As the movie plays in the background, a talented group of singers, dancers and actors in full costume and makeup perform the show like they're inside of it.

Tommy Kuchulis reprises the role of Dr. Frank N. Furter and also takes over directorial duties. His good Doctor is wonderful, as Kuchulis finds the humor, the sexiness and the heartbreak and dances between the extremes beautifully. Even with Tim Curry's iconic performance playing in the background, it's hard to take your eyes off of Kuchulis.

Diving into this year's rehearsal process was fairly laid back. "The first 'rehearsal' was over a Sunday afternoon brunch," says Kuchulis. "I work at The Village Baker and had scored some leftover cinnamon swirl bread from the day before. I gathered the cast in a casual setting and talked to each of them about what they wanted to bring to their characters."

The cast for this year's "Rocky Horror" is a mixture of veterans and virgins. "Some of them had done the show before, but for the most part everyone was new to their role," says Kuchulis. "I asked them in what three ways did they want to bring their character to life and how they wanted to make the character bigger. Everyone knows the film, but I wanted everyone to add something more and bring something to the character that was unique to them. I also reminded every actor that their character is not always on screen while they are on stage, so it was important to me that they stayed in character and added reactions while staying true to the characters' mannerisms. Rehearsals were very casual (almost too casual) up until tech week."

That casualness kept the show feeling fresh, like anything could happen. Everyone knew their characters backwards and forwards, but the madcap free-for-all of the Time Warp, the orgy and The Sword of Damocles feel raw. "Rocky Horror" shouldn't be highly polished; it should be running makeup, sweaty dildos and running in heels.

From Matt Vigil's and Lylly J. Von Hurst's Brad and Janet, all the way to Miranda Rose's Columbia and Rachel Gilland's Magenta, the show is perfectly cast and everyone finds something original to add to these iconic characters.

Even as we progress further away from "Rocky Horror's" mid-70s origins, some of the themes and ideas have become more widely accepted—but there is still a long way to go. It's been over 40 years and gay rights is still an everyday struggle, the trans community still faces violence across the globe and homophobia still runs rampant.

"Rocky and Frank get married in the first 40 minutes of the film and gay marriage wasn't legal in the U.S. until late last year," says Kuchulis. "I think society has a long way to go before anything depicted in the film, besides quintessential Brad and Janet, becomes normalized and widely accepted across cultures. When you break it all down there's no reason anyone can't be who they want to be and do what they need to do, if it doesn't harm others."

As I walked home at 2:30am with my goodie bag filled with glow sticks, toast, playing cards, toilet paper and all kinds of other stuff, I realized why I've loved "Rocky Horror" for the last 25 years. Sure, it's the music and the characters, but more importantly, it's the idea of being accepted for exactly who you are that's always made me smile. That even though I'm old in body and spirit, there's a glitter-and-leather-covered tribe out there waiting for me.

"The Rocky Horror Picture Show"

Each Saturday in Oct., midnight

2nd Street Theater, 220 NE Lafayette Ave., Bend

$10-$20

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