In the August 1981 edition of Pittsburgh Magazine, our distant predecessors handed out
“While it is the same movie, every show we put on is a different experience. There are so many things
bests and worsts to various institutions around town. The former King’s Court Theater in
Oakland was not favored at the time; we wrote, “The Rocky Horror Picture
Show gags are getting stale.” Little did those long-ago editors suspect that, 35 years
later, the same jokes still would be made in Pittsburgh-area cinemas — and in front of movie screens
all over the world. The enduring popularity of the 1975 comedy-musical springs from the spirited
midnight showings presented with the aid of a live “shadowcast,” a group of superfans who act out
the film in front of the screen; meanwhile, call-and-response jokes hurled at the screen are handed
down via word-of-mouth from one crowd to the next. “It thrives because of the fans,” according to
Samantha Swope, who has been a part of the local “Rocky Horror” group, the Junior Chamber of
Commerce Players ( steelcityrockyhorror.com), since 2009. “Some people view it as a part of film history, a
tradition — or even an escape or place to fit in.” And while the callback lines and traditions — such as,
say, tossing rolls of Scott toilet paper into the air when a character exclaims, “Great Scott!” — may not
have changed much through the decades, Swope insists that each performance carries its own variety.
that can shape the show.” The JCCP will take over the Hollywood Theater ( thehollywooddormont.org) twice
this month with both showings at 11: 45 p.m.; on Sept. 10, cast members will dress as cartoon characters
for an animation-themed show, then don their normal fishnets for a screening on Sept. 23.
NIGHTLIFE BY ERIC LIDJI
FLICKS BY SEAN COLLIER
Theatre in Shakespeare’s day was a lot more run-and-gun than we may realize. To reduce
rehearsal time, the text of a script often told the actors how to perform a scene and how
to move across the stage using clues embedded in the grammar, spelling and meter. The
New Renaissance Theatre Company’s Unrehearsed Shakespeare Project
( unrehearsedshakespeareproject.com) revives these techniques to enliven the familiar works of the Bard
— expect more movement and a lot more emoting. All summer, the troupe has been showcasing its
“Unrehearsed Cue Script Technique” in a series at Allegheny County parks (412/350-2528, alleghenycounty.
us/parks/contact/ index.aspx). As part of this year’s Britsburgh, an annual six-day celebration of British
culture, the troupe will perform a medley of Shakespearian scenes on the main lawn of Hartwood
Acres Mansion. The performance starts at 6 p.m. Sept. 10 and will be followed by a free screening of
“Mary Poppins.” P H O T O : S
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