It is almost Halloween, and that means the UNC Pauper Players are ready to see you shiver with antici...pation.
For the fifth year in a row, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” will be presented at the Varsity Theatre on Franklin Street on Friday, Oct. 25, Saturday, Oct. 26 and Halloween night. There will be two shows each night, with one performance beginning at 9:30 p.m. and the other at 11:59 p.m.
This year's performances will be different than in the past because it seeks to focus on themes of confidence and body positivity.
Living up to its status as a cult classic, the “Rocky Horror” performance has sold out in 24 hours for the past three years at UNC — which is part of the reason there are an extra two shows this year. In the past, there were only four.
In previous years, there were two shows each on the Friday and Saturday before Halloween. Maria Cade, a sophomore and one of the producers for “Rocky Horror” this year, said one of the best parts of this year's performances is that for the first time ever, there will be two performances on Halloween itself, as well as a costume contest.
“Since Halloween celebrations are such a big deal, this will be such a great addition because the show is being performed at the Varsity Theatre,” Cade said. “It’ll be a great opportunity for people to come to the theater in their costumes and start a new tradition.”
Cade and her co-producer, senior Alexis Ortiz, are responsible for managing the production and making sure everything is running smoothly.
This year is the second time Ortiz has produced “Rocky Horror,” and she said one of the greatest parts of putting on the show annually is seeing how it changes from year to year depending on who is directing.
“With this cast, we’ve really embraced confidence a lot," Ortiz said. "That’s definitely something our director has loved focusing on throughout the rehearsals. I really think that’s going to be something that the audience will be able to see and get for themselves.”
Cade agreed, and added that the themes of self-worth and confidence should motivate audience members to be their best selves.
Elisabeth Beauchamp has performed in the show for the past three years and will be celebrating her last hurrah with the Pauper Players by directing the show this year.
Beauchamp said “Rocky Horror” has been the high point of her time at UNC and in trying her hand at directing, she hopes to give her cast the same feelings of onstage pride that she felt while performing.
“I’m an individual who has struggled deeply with body image issues in my life, and coming to UNC and being able to be a part of ‘Rocky’ has been a really big healing process,” Beauchamp said. “And the show itself is about being yourself and being free and sexy, and being proud of being sexy. So this year I wanted to take everything I’ve gotten from it and give it back to my cast.”
When deciding how she wanted to direct this year’s performance, Beauchamp wanted to put the spotlight on what it means to be proud of one’s identity.
Beauchamp said the show really has no limits: she would rather the actors have the most fun onstage they possibly can rather than remain inside the confines of what is deemed socially acceptable. By focusing on freedom and pride, Beauchamp hopes audiences will feel allowed to embrace their own bodies, identities and individualities.
“I want audiences to see this big, goofy, diverse, hilarious group of people up onstage doing their thing, and I want (them) to think, ‘Oh, I guess I can do that, too,’” Beauchamp said.
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