Arts & Media

Thrill Me, Chill Me, Fulfill Me: The 5Cs “Rocky Horror” Production’s Triumphant Run

Ella Young ’24 and Belén Yudess ’25
Staff Writer and Copy Editor Intern

Demand was high for The Rocky Horror Picture Show this year and with good reason. Hundreds of students lined up in advance to see this year’s shadow cast production of Rocky Horror, put on by 5C groups 5×5 and Spotlight. We went to the production’s second showing on Oct. 29, but the first show was put on the night before. We would like to extend our congratulations and praise to the cast and crew who worked on the first show; we know your performances would have made Susan Sarandon weep with pride.

We would be remiss not to acknowledge the tragedy that struck our campuses the same weekend with the passing of Jesse Lopez PZ ’24. Lopez was a valued friend of mine who I (Ella Young) miss immensely.

I had been debating skipping my Rocky Horror plans because of my grief. Wishing to avoid getting stuck in an emotional spiral, I decided against staying in and was struck by the strong sense of love, camaraderie, and acceptance that was present at the showing. The kindness and appreciation displayed by all the cast, crew, and audience was emblematic of the strength of the Claremont student community, and it served as a heartening and much-needed reminder that our community supports and accepts one another. I greatly appreciated the safe space that the production offered into which I could retreat as I navigated the intense emotions of that weekend.

The loss has been and continues to be immense and devastating, and although the production could not change that, it did temporarily soften the ache. I sincerely hope that everyone struggling with this know that their fellow students are there for them. If you are struggling with this loss, please remember that your community is there for you and supportive of you.

If you took a glance at our last issue, the two of us previously covered the preparation of Rocky Horror. After conducting interviews and learning more about this year’s creative cast and crew, our enthusiasm to be invited up into Frank’s lab was ignited. Upon learning about the immense turnout for the Friday show, we packed our bags with extra sweaters and snacks in order to camp out in line to guarantee ourselves a front-row seat to the science fiction double feature.

We waited in line for nearly two hours, passing the time with discussions of Twilight, games of twenty questions, and shivers of antici … pation for the upcoming show. When doors finally opened, we were ushered in by students clad in eclectic costumes, drawing red lipstick V’s on the faces of so-called “virgins.” Once the theater was fully packed, the lights dimmed and Rocky Horror came to life.

The show was excellent. Director Aidan Trulove ’24 and stage manager Ash Ahrenhoerster PO ’25 delivered a night filled with electric energy and outstanding performances. The opening burlesque-inspired dance was fantastically performed by Aviva Maxon ’24. Ella Lehavi ’24 and Elise Thuresson CM ’24 had hilarious takes on Brad and Janet. There was undeniable chemistry between Riff Raff (Vera Caldwell PO ’26), Columbia (Amelia Lewis ’25), and Magenta (Regan Rudman PZ ’24), and of course, the portrayal of Frank N Furter by Elle Roc PO ’24 was remarkable. The audience participation by veterans, virgins, and vivacious cast members from the previous night added to the strong sense of community cultivated by every Rocky Horror show.

One of the most memorable moments of the show was during the movie’s infamous cannibal dinner scene. During the scene, Ryan Ziel Hutchins PO ’25, who played Eddie, lay on a foldout table underneath a tablecloth to portray the consumption of Eddie’s corpse by Frank’s dinner guests. With a literal bang, one of the legs of the table collapsed, sending the end with Hutchins’s head to the floor. From our third-row seats, we could not tell whether this was staged; Hutchins, staying in character, did not move from his position on stage. The movie paused as Trulove and Ahrenhoerster entered the stage. Although there were a few moments of concern about Hutchins’s head, he proceeded to rise, as iconically noted by the night’s Dr. Scott played by Wendy Walter ’25, accompanied by intense cheers from the audience.

This incident was a testament to the show’s ongoing commitment to safety and care for the cast, as well as the cheerful and supportive character of the audience. Although this moment was clearly not part of the cast and crew’s plan, its comedic yet thoughtful nature cemented it as one of our favorite moments of the night.

This moment is emblematic of the culture of acceptance and love that Rocky Horror fosters. The movie has an extensive history in the queer community, and the film itself plays with often stigmatized themes of sexuality and queerness. This vibrant culture of acceptance was on full display at the showing we went to, through both the production itself and the audience’s reactions of laughter, cheers, and joy. These reactions showed appreciation and love for the cast, crew, and fellow audience members, and they exemplify a loving, supportive, and joyful space from which the Claremont community could benefit.

This year’s 5C production of The Rocky Horror Picture Show not only showcased excellent dancing and acting, but also brought students together in a unique and powerful way. Despite not knowing each other’s names, colleges, years, or majors, the attendees, cast, and crew were unified by the meaningful shared experience of culture, callouts, and Curry (Tim, that is). Every face leaving the theater was overcome with a smile, and we are so grateful we got to be a part of that fantasy-freeing experience. That being said, we can’t wait to do the time warp again during the winter show.

Join the Rocky cast and crew for their holiday spectacular in the upcoming weeks, and make sure to follow their Instagram @rockyhorror5c for more updates!

Image Source: Twentieth Century Fox Film