Our latest theatre production, The Rocky Horror PictureShow, recently took place this month on the 14th, 15th, 20th, 21st, and 22nd. I interviewed the directors, actors, musicians and stage hands on their thoughts on the show and the process before attending the performance myself.
First I interviewed Gioia Marchese who is the new theatre director at Santa Barbara High School. She wanted to choose something that would feel like a huge celebration, especially considering how heavy and serious their last show, The Crucible, was. Marchese wanted to do something really fun, and this musical gives an opportunity for a lot of audience participation and connection with the audience. There are many fun, quirky characters. Considering how this show is generally produced for adult audiences, I questioned her on how she would adapt this in a way that is digestible for people under the age of 18. Marchese replied that she found that the material overall was not specifically adult, as there are no sex scenes or nudity, and that everything is more innuendo. She claimed she believes that people saw it through an adult lens because it deals with gender and sexual identity. She doesn’t view it as necessarily adult content, but simply human content. Marchese’s favorite scene was the floor show, which had about 3 or 4 songs all put together. The reason she loves this scene is because they built this balloon pool that the actors were in. There was a balloon drop onto the audience. She said she was really excited because it would be like a big celebratory feeling in the theatre. Her favorite character is Frank because of how unique he is. He is very unapologetic for the type of person he is, and she thinks people could use a dose of that. Marchese is most proud of the fact that this musical created a space for her students to celebrate who they are and their individuality. Exploring being different characters and celebrating their chosen genders and chosen sexual orientations, is something she is fond of.
Jake Homovitz is the technical director of the theatre. He teaches the stagecraft class and they build the sets. He helps make the sets, the lights, the sound, costumes, and pretty much anything apart from the acting that is occuring on stage. He also takes care of the band and the music. When asked what has been the hardest part of making this show possible, Homovitz informed me that he and his partner were expecting a baby, and that the due date was on opening night. Being busy with the show and also preparing for a baby has been difficult, but his brother Eli has stepped in and helped him out immensely. His working relationship with his brother is what he told me he was most proud of.
Adrian Arias plays Riff Raff in the musical. When I asked him what the most difficult aspect is for him personally, Arias said time management. He was trying to balance between the production and school and things outside of school. “This is to be expected,” Arias said. He is most proud of how far this show has gone from the casting and auditions to where they were now so close to finally producing this. “It has really gone a long way.”
Tristan Bilodeau is playing Rocky in The Rocky Horror Picture Show. His favorite scene is when they all are saying each other’s name and looking at each other. He finds it super amusing and says the comedic timing is amazing. His favorite character is Frank-N-Furter. “Frank is all over the place and just a very fun and interesting character,” he said. For Bilodeau, the hardest part is trying to get all the dances down, because he is a perfectionist when it comes to the dances and it’s always tough to get the timing down. Bilodeau is most proud of the set they have for the show, as it is great and big.
Malia Hubbard, a self-described theater fanatic and junior at Santa Barbara High School, has been doing theatre since she was in 3rd or 4th grade. She was playing Janet. Her favorite scene was Rocky being created. “It’s a scene full of life and is really fun to take part in,” Hubbard said. I asked her about her favorite character, to which she replied “Dr. Scott. He just plays the character a little more grounded in reality and it’s funny to bring in such a normal guy to such a fanciful sort of show.” The fact that this musical is “quite different” is the most difficult aspect according to Hubbard. She said they are taking a leap of faith, with hope that it will turn out well. When asked what she is most proud of, she said, “The dedication it takes to put on a show and my classmates who put in so much work to make this possible.”
Presley Villa is a senior and a member of VADA academy, who takes great interest in theatre. Villa is playing Frank-N-Furter and heads up costume production. The fact that this is her last show is the most difficult aspect for her in the making of this musical. “There is a lot of pressure to do it right, but I am trying to have a lot of fun and make it last,” Villa said. She is most proud of the cast for pulling together and ensuring that this show is very fun.
Band Member – Grace Larson – Drums
Band Member – Josue Valdez – Guitar
Grace Larson plays drums in the band for the show. When I asked her why she decided to do a live band for this production, she replied “It really adds a new layer to the show. It’s more interactive than just playing tracks. The first time they did this was last year with Chicago, and everyone liked that.”
Personally, I was very impressed with what I saw of Rocky Horror. It truly made my day when I saw it. The music was brilliant, and so was the choreography. My favorite song is Time Warp. I was surprised to see some actors first appear to the audience through the rows of the theatre, which was quite unique and added a special touch. Malia Hubbard and Lucas Meisel played the engaged couple Brad and Janet, and they really showcased their vocal talents with their heartfelt duets. Presley Villa played the main character Frank-N-Furter, and she did not disappoint the audience with her commanding and show-stopping performance. Adrian Arias did very well playing Riff Raff, as he was very wacky and amusing. He, Izzie Fabio who played Magenta, and Celina Stodder who played Columbia, shined in Time Warp. Overall, this show was a great success and I hope you had the privilege to see it. Congratulations to everyone who worked on the production for doing such an amazing job!
[From left to right: Sway Moore, Kyle Fitton (back), Stella Reid, Presley Villa, Kamile Zaunius, Hattie Ugoretz, Photo Credit:Leela Cyd]