Shadow cast has audiences wanting more


Augustana sophomore Mary Sales (from left), juniors Cassie Karn and James wheeler and senior Jonathan Quigley pose at Frank N’ Furter’s throne during The Rocky Horror Picture Show Shadowcast at the Augustana College Brunner Theater Center on October 24, 2019.

Gabrielle Lenger

Students flooded the lobby of Brunner Theatre Center on Thursday, Oct. 24 humming tunes from “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” The cult classic movie was about to be brought to life by a cast made up of members of the theatre fraternity Alpha Psi Omega.

A shadow casting of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” has become a Halloween tradition for students at Augustana.

A shadow cast is a performance of a film by a group of actors while the film is being screened.

The Alpha Psi Omega fraternity cast their choice of actors and volunteers from the group and rehearsed for screening just two days prior to the show.

For almost six years, Alpha Psi Omega has been throwing together the experience that is “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” shadow cast.

Even though the show is put on every year, each year the shadowcast of “the Rocky Horror Picture Show” is slightly different because there is a different director who puts their own style in the show.

“We always try to top the scandal from last year,” senior Emma Hydorn said. “We try to make it better every year. Better props, better costumes. You never see the same show twice.” Hydorn is playing Dr. Frank N. Furter’s perfect science experiment, Rocky, for the second year in a row.

The role is traditionally played by a man, but that did not stop Emma from putting herself up for the part.

Everyone in the cast put their own spin on their characters, including James Wheeler, portraying Dr. Frank N. Furter, who received multiple standing ovations that night.

Emma went a step further and managed to break the boundaries of an already risqué show.

“It’s exciting,” Hydorn said. “People were scared at first. It started out as a joke, and then I thought about it more and I really wanted to do it.”

There were also many “Rocky Horror” veterans returning to the stage. Samantha Flip portrayed the innocent Janet for her third consecutive year.

Jack Harris played the overly protective fiancé of Janet, Brad, for the third year in a row.

Even though this shadow cast has become an Augustana theatre tradition, the show is open to everyone.

Audience members are encouraged to interact with the actors, and it is difficult not to. There were multiple chase scenes where actors were literally crawling over the audience.

The half-dressed actors and routine jeers from audiences could make any shadow cast “virgin” (a term used for first-time audience members) intimidated, but not for students like sophomore Becca Casad.

“My first ‘Rocky Horror’ experience was really fun,” Casad said. “I was lucky to know many of the people who were in the shadow cast, so I felt more comfortable with the nudity and things.

All around it felt like the whole audience was bonding with each other.”