After nearly a decade of drag, time warps and toast, Saturday, October 29 will be the final performance for the Grizzly Valley Players in their stage and film rendition of Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Erin Wanvig, artistic director for the group, says the first show took place in March of 2007, then again for Halloween. “It became an annual Halloween tradition,” she says.
This year marks the tenth and final (for now, says Wanvig) performance of the … well, it’s not really a play, and not really a screening of a movie, but a hybrid of the two.
Rocky Horror is perhaps the cult-iest of all the cult classics, and has developed its own subculture of people who watch the movie regularly.
It is commonly viewed at midnight showings leading up to Halloween in larger cities, and, says Wanvig, there are at least two major cities, New York and London, that run Rocky Horror every weekend of the year. “It has also been extremely popular as entertainment for university students everywhere.”
Over the years, the movie has become less a sit down experience, and more an audience participation event, chanting lyrics, calling the characters names when they appear, doing actions and even throwing items at the screen. The most classic example is throwing a slice of toast when Dr. Frank N. Furter, the, um, well, if you’re not familiar with the film, he’s a bit hard to explain.
In addition to the audience interaction, over time, some members of the audience began to take it upon themselves to dress up as the characters and act out the action happening on screen.
In Tumbler Ridge, it has been members of the Grizzly Valley Players who have done the (cross) dressing up and (inter)acting with the action on screen. This year’s performance is a special one for cast and crew. “Some original cast members are flying in from the coast to resume their roles,” says Wanvig.
Jean Hudson (formerly Pawlucki) originally played the narrator, Criminologist, affectionately known as Crimmy. Hudson has played Crimmy predominantly, but did play Janet Weiss once. She lives in Vancouver now, but will be returning again (she came back in 2014) to play Crimmy.
Janet Delpierre flies in from Victoria to resume her role of Columbia, whom she played uninterrupted from 2007 through 2010.
Two original cast members have played every show since the beginning. Barb Schuerkamp has ten times played the titular Rocky, (“a beautiful creature with boyish charm and muscles,” says Wanvig.), and Wanvig herself, who has played Dr. Furtur for every performance.
Wanvig says she decided to take up the role as she knew in a mining town, the odds of a male willing to play the part of Frank N. Furter would be a difficult find. “The part is also very demanding and requires a lot of rehearsal and perfection,” she says.
Wanvig is the director for both the adult drama company Grizzly Valley Players, and the youth drama (ages 6-12), Theatre On The Ridge.
The performance has been the troupe’s annual fundraiser, and they hope to pack the house for this one last showing.
For people who are not regulars of Rocky (Rocky Virgins, they are called), Wanvig says not to worry. “All materials included to interact are provided.”
The cast list includes: Tammy Pigeon as Brad Majors; Rebekah Zimmer as Janet Weiss; Rose Snyder as Riff Raff; Debbie Peever as Magenta; Janet Delpierre as Columbia; Barb Schuerkamp as Rocky; Charissa Tonnesen as Eddy/Dr. Scott; Jean Hudson as Crimmy and, of course, Wanvig as Dr. Frank N. Furter.
“The audience is in for a good time with movie, stage show, licensed cash bar, and following the live show, a Halloween costume party and dance.” Wanvig says she is extremely grateful for the dedication of audiences over the last nine years. “Both drama groups hope to continue entertaining Tumbler Ridge audiences in future productions,” she says.
Come up to the lab. And see what’s on the slab….one last time for Rocky Horror in Tumbler Ridge. Saturday, October 29. Tickets available at the Community Centre.