The Rocky Horror Show - October 19 - October 31, 2018

Axiom Repertory Theatre

 End Notes 

 

Director's Notes

 

For many, The Rocky Horror Show is more than a play or musical entertainment; it’s a celebration of one’s individuality and personal freedom of expression.

 

In 1973, when the show was originally written and performed in a tiny 63 seat upstairs theatre in the Royal Court Theatre in London, the concept of civil rights and personal freedom of expression--expressly as they pertained to one’s own gender identification and sexuality--were still relatively new concepts, especially in the United States. Those with sexual identities counter to the prevailing “norm” in the fifties and sixties largely faced a hostile and discriminatory anti-gay legal system. Very few establishments outside of marginalized bars and underground clubs openly accepted those who today would identify as members of the LGBTQ communities.

 

In 1966, after fire gutted the interior of the once former stables and later restaurant known as the Stonewall Inn in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village, three members of the Mafia invested money into turning the Stonewall into what would become a well-known gay bar. The Stonewall Inn—known for its allowance of intimate dancing and acceptance of free association—became a refuge of sorts for “the poorest and most marginalized people in the gay community: drag queens, transgender people, effeminate young men, butch lesbians, male prostitutes, and homeless youth.” (Wikipedia) As such, Stonewall (as it came to be known) was subject to periodic raids from the NY police department. It was after such a raid that the “Stonewall Rebellions”—a series of protests and violent altercations—occurred over June 28-July 1, 1969. Major news outlets paid only passing reference to the “riots,” if they paid any attention to the Rebellion at all. Nevertheless, the eventual result of the Rebellion was the rise of community organizations devoted to establishing places where people could be open about their own sexuality without facing fear of reprisal, and Stonewall became a rallying cry to targeted and marginalized groups everywhere. According to such diverse sources as the University of Kentucky, Pink News UK (Nell Frizzell), Encyclopedia Britannica, the U.S. National Park Service, and President Barack Obama, the riots are “widely considered to constitute the most important event leading to the gay liberation movement and the modern fight for LGBT[Q] rights in the United States. (Wikipedia)

 

The Rocky Horror Show seemed to arrive at precisely the right time. After a month at the Royal Court, the show moved to the 230 seat Chelsea Theatre, then to the 500 seat King’s Road Theatre and later to the (now) Harold Pinter Theatre. Oh yeah. And along the way it was made into a movie. You may have heard about that one…

 

Now, today, The Rocky Horror Show is still a celebration of an individual’s ability to not just dream it, but be it, whatever that may be. And, with its now-trademarked audience participation callbacks throughout the production, The Rocky Horror Show also serves to demystify sexuality while simultaneously removing the barbs, stings and shame from what were once pejorative terms used by the majority to belittle the marginalized. Shouting “slut!” simultaneously removes all the power away from the word as it also destroys the concept of “slut shaming”; Janet is liberated to complete the arc of her transformation from someone repressed and “held in check” to one who fully embraces her new-found freedom to be the person she herself chooses to be. The same is also true of Brad, Dr. Scott, the Narrator, and—by extension—every one of us as well.

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