September 23, 2015
In a risqué, yet completely accurate simile, Jacob Walas compares the rituals of Rocky Horror to that of Communion.
“I always compare it to Communion,” said Walas, a 26-year-old actor from Asheville, “when you take Communion, you know the exact ritual, you know the exact call and response, you know when to take the bread and the wine and all of that stuff- it’s ingrained in you. It’s kind of like that for the Rocky Horror too.”
Walas will co-direct and act as Riff Raff in LW Fantastique and Asheville Ballet’s upcoming production of the stage play, Rocky Horror. The play is scheduled to run in collaboration with the Color Ball this Halloween weekend at the Masonic temple in downtown.
While many audiences are familiar with the Picture Show — campy performances carried out under the eyes of Tim Curry, the cast insists the stage show will be a completely different experience.
“It’s more muscular, is the way I would describe it, a little bit leaner on the dialogue, but you still have all of the same songs,” said Lyle Laney, a UNCA alum who is a producer, co-director and co-choreographer for this production.
Luke Haynes, a 28-year-old actor who plays Brad, “the asshole,” compares the atmosphere of the stage play to a rock concert.
Despite having only a month of rehearsals, the cast seems confident in their ability to bring Rocky Horror to stage. Taylor Aldrich, who plays Janet, cites audience participation as the reason for a seemingly short rehearsal time.
“Honestly, you just need to get the choreography,” Aldrich said, “get the music, get your lines, be able to run it a couple times and see what happens when you get an audience.”
For non-thespians, a month seems like a brief amount of rehearsal time, but co-director Laney credits this to a talented cast.
“Quite simply, in my eyes, this is the best cast in Asheville, and they can handle this in a month, easily,” said Laney. “I have no concerns about that, I trust them.”
The interactive aspects of Rocky Horror are arguably what make it such a cult classic. It remains to be seen if all of the customs will translate from Picture Show to stage, Laney said, as audience members will be in charge of determining the amount of interaction.
“In terms of the throwing of the toilet paper, the use of the squirt guns, and the Styrofoam penis, and all that stuff, we want to encourage that,” said Laney, “and of course the big thing is, we want to encourage them to be there, to be in the space.”
Audience props for the picture show range from rubber to toast, the latter of which is meant to be thrown into the air.
Walas and Laney agree that theater is experiencing a period of “sanitation,” and said they hope this fourth-wall-breaking performance will bring fun back to theater.
“You’re not encouraged to hoot and holler and laugh and enjoy and support [in today’s theater],” said Walas.
“But in this show, I think we’ll definitely see that,” said Laney.
Tickets will be sold in three different pricing tiers — $30, $20, and $15. Student rush tickets will be honored with a valid college ID. The show will run Oct. 29, 30 and 31. They plan to donate a portion of each sale to Youth Outright. For ticket information, visit rockyhorrorasheville.com.