Please note that it is considered very bad etiquette to throw something onto the stage, it could mean that the show is cancelled and a thousand fans turn on you in an instant!
Audience Participation started back in the 1970’s in the USA and made it over to the UK a few years later. Originally only for the movie, the ‘AP’ has become a part of the stage show as well. Fans have been dressing up, shouting back lines and singing along to the show for thirty years now.
Audience participation should always be complementary to the show, never just shouting out lines for the hell of it.
There are hundreds of talk-back lines that have been used over the years, and more are created by the audience at every show. There is no such thing as a definitive Audience Participation script as often call back lines are topical – Rocky being called a Pokemon worked in May 2000, but isn’t so funny now. To paraphrase the great philosopher Roger Rabbit, ‘it only works if its funny.’
It should be noted that many lines that are used at the film screenings don’t translate to the stage productions. Shouting ‘where’s your neck?’, for instance, to every narrator just doesn’t work as, unlike Charles Gray in the film, most do seem to have one.
“Etiquette?” I hear you cry – “at a show with the principle of ‘Don’t dream it, be it?’” Yep, there still are a few things to bear in mind when you are partaking in the Rocky experience.
The idea of Rocky Horror participation is to have fun, not disrupt the show. The following guidelines will help you and the other members of the audience to enjoy the show to the maximum pleasure level.
1. If you are dressing up for the show, don’t criticize other people’s costumes. Everyone has the right to wear whatever they wish. Some people make carbon-copies of the stage costumes, others take a more abstract approach. Some don’t dress up at all.
2. Talk-back lines should be used to add to the Rocky experience, don’t try to shout down other people, they might know some better lines, the best lines are the unexpected., especially if the cast start to giggle!
3. Don’t throw rice or water at the performers, spotlights or screen. In fact, don’t throw them all. It may be dangerous and may result in the show being halted.
4. Have fun!
CALLING ALL VIRGINS…
So there you are, sat in a theatre waiting to see The Rocky Horror Show for the first time, when a strangely dressed person comes up to you and utters the immortal phrase “are you a virgin?” Don’t panic, it’s not a proposition (although you never know your luck!). Anybody who hasn’t seen Rocky before, be they twelve or seventy is commonly known as a ‘virgin’. Let’s face it, at some time in our lives we have all been virgins as far as Rocky is concerned! But don’t worry, help is at hand. In order to guide you through the experience of Rocky Horror there now follows the original virgin survival guide, the indispensable guide to Rocky etiquette, audience participation and dress codes.
DO I NEED TO DRESS UP?
Dress is optional. Whilst some of us look good in a dress, some of us don’t. You may find that after a show or two you may like to wear something a little more outrageous: be it stockings, a basque, or high heels (females may also wear these items). You may even become a diehard fan and start to make perfect copies of the costumes worn during the show. For now just wear something casual but remember to follow the three step guide of clothes that should never be worn to Rocky, as follows:
1. Suits. These are only worn by people who thought they were booking for Phantom of the Opera or Chicago, but dialled the wrong number.
2. Sandals, anoraks or anything remotely connected with the acquisition of British Rail rolling stock serial numbers.
No matter what you decide, just remember the main reason you are going is to enjoy yourself and have a great time. There will always be someone at the theatre who looks more out of place than you do so, throw off any cares and doubts, let your hair down and enjoy – you’ll thank me in the long run! Also, never make fun of anyone else’s costume. Remember they have spent ages getting it the way they want it and this is not a fancy dress competition – you and they are there to enjoy the evening, pure and simple! Anyway, some of those men in fishnets can’t half pack a punch!
Remember the golden rule: ‘There will always be someone who looks more out of place than you do!’
Although not compulsory you may find that during the Time Warp you are the only person in the audience not on your feet. You dance the Time Warp by simply following the rule: ‘Do what it says in the song’. Do the same and you’ll be able to participate in this famous dance. For example, the phrase ‘it’s just a jump to the left’ should accompanied with a jump to the left. If you want to get up and boogie to other songs feel free to do so, but remember that the Time Warp is the only dance that has set moves.