Monday, November 2, 2015

The Rocky Horror Show from the inside

Rocky Horror (From the Inside)

For the past few years I have written about my experiences in seeing The Rocky Horror Show as performed by the Paper Wing Theatre Company. I always wrote about my experience as a spectator. I always admired the way Koly McBride always seems to come up with new and innovative ways to bring the show to the Central Coast. I’ve long ago described the way Lj Brewer dominates and commands the stage in his portrayal of Frank N. Furter, how Heather Hahn simply charms her way into our hearts, the way Jourdain Barton haunts the stage as Magenta, and that both Nicholas Kelly and Jay Devine are stalwart professional in the face of shenanigans, and I’ve had no shortage of words to describe the energetic frenzy of Taylor Landess in performing Riff-raff. All of these performers returned this year- along with Dani Kutter reprising the title role with a comedic and tooth-glistening portrayal guaranteed to bring the house up.

But this year saw a few new faces in the main roles- including a split on the role of Columbia between actresses Taylor Young and Allison Smith on alternating evenings. We also had William Colligan in the role of Dr. Scott and Ralph Cordoza in the role of Eddie. Everyone did a fantastic job- but, of course, this is coming from the last Transylvanian to the Right of the ensemble! Yes, yours truly took a spot on the stage and so I am not going to write a review for this year so much as share the memories in a post will hopefully offer a little justified tribute to Paper Wing’s signature production and a farewell to Lj Brewer in the role of Frank N. Furter as he delivers a Swan Song run with the character he so richly embodied over the past ten years.

My own journey with the company started in 2011 where I first performed as an ensemble Transylvanian doing the Time Warp alongside an almost entirely different cast save for Brewer and Hahn in their respective roles. Barton alternated Trixie with a pair of other actresses and Nicholas Kelly performed as a Transylvanian or as understudy to actors with schedule conflicts. This was also the first time I would meet Monterey artist Cody Moore, who would also be dancing the Time Warp with me these four years later. Reminiscing over the past four years, it’s amazing to see the affect this company would have on me and the family I would become a part of. That’s a story for another day, if that story is ever even told- this is about Rocky Horror 2015.

My journey begins with a facebook text message from Heather Hahn and Koly McBride, asking me to join the new cast for Rocky Horror. As Halloween is normally a big family thing for me and mine I am often not able to perform- but this was something I needed and the wife agreed. I would come to learn that this was to be Lj’s last performance- and not only was I eager, but I was flat out HONORED to share the stage with these wonderful people. And I leapt in to rehearsal with as much energy as I could muster-

Choreography! Egads, I am not a light and nimble sort and I’m not exactly a “down at the club” sort of guy. Add to that the boundless energy and love of dance from our choreographer (Devin Adler), and I would crawl home with sore legs, tight muscles, and a hope that each day would bring an improvement for my physical well-being. This was an intense period filled with plenty of action- kicks, turns, and broad arm sweeps throughout Time Warp, Sweet T, and a very fun little shuffle during the Sword of Damocles. Devin was an inspired teacher and a warm-hearted guy who helped us all adapt.

 And then, from Opening onwards we tackled the show with a fury that wouldn’t be denied. Every performance meant something- Lj’s last run, the celebration of old friends, the wedding of the Theatre’s first Janet, the passing of a dear mentor, the passing of an old friend, the greeting of a new era, and it all culminated in the Farewell weekend for Lj Brewer. A farewell that brought me to tears and is just one of the many reasons I love this theatre so much.

Halloween Night saw something you won’t see in too many other places- Ron Moore stepped back in to the role of Eddie for one single performance. The shows usual Eddie (Ralph Cardozza) had done an amazing job, but he didn’t let ego get in the way of a beautiful moment when he stepped aside for one show and allowed the Theatre’s original Eddie to do his thing one more time alongside Lj Brewer and also beside Koly McBride, who would step in to play Trixie when schedule conflicts prevented the original actress from finishing the run. All three were responsible for the creation and growth of Paper Wing Theatre over the years- and it felt right to have the three on stage together one last time. 

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