Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

‘Let’s do the time warp again’

A Rocky Horror Picture Show performance at the Hard Rock Cafe
Naydine De La Fuente

It is time to do the time warp once again as “Rocky Horror” fans shivered with antici…pation to attend a live rendition of the classic seventies film. This past Friday, The Hard Rock Cafe and Acesillio Entertainment organized a live performance of the iconic “Rocky Horror Picture Show” with a live screening of the film and an immersive shadow cast performance by five talented drag artists. The cultural phenomenon of audience participation in these “Rocky Horror” performances is what made the film rise in popularity, and after attending Friday’s showing, it is clear why the fan involvement has made these events so engaging for everyone.

This event was organized by Deisey Guerra, sales and marketing Manager at Hard Rock Cafe and Basilio Romo, also known by their drag name Anita Verga, who was the director, producer and lead in the show alongside their partner, Ace. The cast included talented and dedicated individuals, starting with Anita Verga, who played Janet and Frank-N-Furter, Ace, who played Brad and Rocky, Kirstie Leroux, who played a combination of Magenta, RiffRaff and Janet, Naima Jackson, who switched between Columbia and Janet and Zach Salas, who also played a mixture of Brad, Eddie and Janet – which was played by his hand. Everyone involved played a huge role in creating an entertaining and welcoming show that followed the audience participation rituals that fans know and love.

This production was specifically special and important to Guerra as she explained how she had “attended ‘Rocky Horror Picture Shows’ with the shadow cast consecutively for almost six to seven years now. [It’s her] absolute favorite October activity to do or participate in.”

Right off the bat, the performance began with the virgin ritual that all “Rocky Horror” fanatics are familiar with. Within the fandom, people are identified and marked with a “V” on their foreheads using bright red lipstick, signifying them as virgins, people who have never experienced the “Rocky Horror Picture Show” in a venue with a live audience and cast. These marked individuals are then asked to stand in front of the crowd and perform a sort of welcoming ritual, depending on the show. At the Hard Rock Cafe performance, all virgins were asked to face their behinds to the crowd –Ace Ventura style – and pledge to stand with the queer community, already setting the stage for a welcoming and entertaining experience. 

Verga, the drag queen who performed the virgin ritual, stated, “When Rocky Horror comes around I think it reminds everybody that we have hetero people, we have queer people, we have artists and non-artists. It just brings all these people into one room where they get to act silly and remember that it’s not that serious.”

For anyone attending the “Rocky Horror Picture Show” performance, it is also well known that props play an essential role in audience participation as well. Hard Rock Cafe was greatly prepared and provided all attendees with a baggie filled with various props and a list signifying when to use them. The baggies provided to guests included newspapers, streamers, party hats, playing cards, toilet paper and other items that were used throughout the performance in reference to specific scenes and songs throughout the show.

Naydine De La Fuenta

Aside from the props, guests and fans were able to participate in the performance as they yelled back lines at the screen, such as screaming “a–hole” when they heard the name “Brad Majors” and even joined in the performance themselves by singing along to the film’s greatest hits or participating in the time warp dance.

“It’s an extravagant but also authentic human experience to some extent, and it’s just a great way to have fun, explosive fun,” Guerra said.

The amazing cast is what brought the show together as the talented drag performers encapsulated the characters in the film with their costumes and acting skills, which overall made the experience an immersive and comedic show for everyone. Their constant interaction with the fans and movement around the venue really made the audience feel a part of the whole production, and the witty use of a mannequin playing Dr. Everette Scott or Zach Salas using his hand to play Janet Weiss added more comedic charm to the performance. Despite some difficulties with rehearsal and casting, the performers did a phenomenal job uniting together to create an amazing shadow cast performance. Their hard work definitely paid off and Anita Verga went into detail about the rehearsal process that the cast went through. 

“We would meet up every Thursday and go over the movie,” Verga said. “Me and my partner would stay up until three in the morning just going over the script and just blocking, blocking out where we were going to come in and come out. It was cool, though. It kind of just showed that we really could do this. We had no idea we were going to be doing shadow cast, but we did it.”

The cast’s dedication shone through as they worked through many obstacles. They had to rework around sick cast members, who unfortunately couldn’t participate in the show and even worked through injuries as Ace, the performer who played Rocky, did the show with a fractured foot and proudly did it in heels.

This event was overall a very uniting and engaging experience for fans and virgins alike, and it allowed creative artists, such as drag queens and performers, to freely express themselves in the theatrical art of performing. 

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About the Contributor
Naydine De La Fuente, Copyediting Coordinator
Naydine De La Fuente (she/her) is an English major with a double concentration in professional and creative writing with a minor in communication. She joined The Paisano during the spring 2023 term in order to indulge in her passion for writing. In the future, she plans to pursue a career in journalism or publishing in hopes to utilize her writing skills. Outside of the organization, she enjoys reading, journaling and spending time with friends, family and her dog.

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