By Meghan Rowe, Staff Writer
The South Dining Hall at the University of Maine at Farmington (UMF), the place where students satisfy their hunger on a daily basis, was recently transformed into a place to display the hunger for self expression. Eight dancers and ten performers took the stage twice in one night to bring the-ever-taboo theatrical performance of The Rocky Horror Picture Show to campus as a way to kick off the 2014 Spring Fling.
Rocky Horror started in the 1970s as a cult movie that was not supposed to be viewed. Small theatres, however, began showing the movie at midnight which brought a unique audience to the scene. Men dressed in women’s clothing, with nudity and homosexuality often included. People began shifting the show from just a movie to a ‘play’ of sorts with audience participation, dancers and actors milling around while the movie was playing in the background.
If walking down the hallway of the student center and glancing at bulletin boards from left to right with club advertisements for ‘The Otaku Club’, ‘Dressage Club’, and the ‘Fooding Club’ doesn’t clue you in to how unique and accepting the student body here at UMF is, then Rocky Horror will. “It’s something that allows people to express themselves in a different type of way that you usually don’t do,” said Devin Gilman, a fourth year elementary education major who was a co-choreographer for the show. “And I think that’s something that’s really special about UMF is that we have such a community that’s perfect to do Rocky in.”
Girls jiggled all around, guys took on looks ranging from mild guilt to embarrassment, as females dressed in lingerie began grinding their half naked bodies on the party-goers marked with the infamous red V on their forehead. Red V’s on the foreheads of individuals at Rocky Horror means ‘virgin’ of the show–they have never seen the show in a public/live setting. It’s no coincidence that these ‘virgins’ get more attention, however, “if they are nervous or don’t know what to expect we respect that and want to make it as enjoyable as possible for them so we stay away,” said Gilman. “Rocky can sometimes be overwhelming.”
The two shows of the event took place at nine p.m. and midnight. “The audience at the midnight show are people who know the show a lot more, so people who are just like ‘I don’t know what to expect’ and want to test the waters came to the 9 o’clock showing,” said Gilman. In an even more passionate tone Gilman added, “We had a lot of people who were in the audience screaming lines at us [at the midnight showing] and that’s what makes Rocky.”
Rocky Horror is, “essentially a freak show,” said Eliza LaBelle, a senior at UMF and a dancer in the show. “I’m a very open person anyways and this is a place for me to be just that– we dance on people’s laps and wear lingerie in public. It’s a good time!” The goal of Rocky Horror is to let go and be confident.“You’re half naked on stage so just own it and have fun!” said LaBelle as she turned her hands upwards and gave a wide grin.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show has been a part of Spring Fling at UMF for many years. There is no doubt that the show is strange, quirky and perhaps a bit risque, however the growth that individuals earn from being a part of the cast is undeniable. “I’m not Devin that night, I’m not Devin who wears a sweatshirt, I’m Devin who wears three inch heels and who has to embrace himself,” said Gilman with a beam of self acceptance and confidence. “And that’s something this has taught me. No matter who you are, no matter what sexual orientation you are, you put that aside for Rocky.”