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Pink Box Burlesque Presents Rocky Horror Picture

The Rocky Horror Picture Show will be returning to the Bama Theatre for the sixth consecutive year. Photo courtesy of Mama Dixie of Pink Box Burlesque

Andrew Laningham

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Just in time for Halloween, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, put on by Tuscaloosa’s Pink Box Burlesque troupe, is making a return to the Bama Theatre for the sixth consecutive year.

A shadow cast of Pink Box Burlesque members will be acting out the classic musical comedy horror movie as the 1975 film plays behind the live show. The practice of adding an interactive acting component to screenings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show has been a tradition and favorite for fans of the film since the ’70s. Six years ago, Pink Box Burlesque member Tesla Coil started out as backstage support for the production, but now plays one of the show’s main characters Dr. Frank N. Furter, a self-proclaimed “sweet transvestite from Transsexual, Transylvania.”

“It was a surprise when I first played him, but now everybody knows,” Coil said.

Along with the unusual melding of a film screening with a live performance, Rocky Horror Picture Shows are known for their use of callbacks and props. Callbacks are when audience members participate in the Rocky Horror experience by yelling phrases back at the screen during the movie. Coil said there are universal callbacks yelled at every Rocky Horror production, but there are also regional callbacks specific to certain parts of the country. “It’s interesting,” she said. “You can definitely tell where someone is from based on what callbacks they do.”

To fulfill the tradition of using props during the show, prop bags will be sold at the Bama Theatre on the night of the show for audience members to purchase. Props included in the bag are party hats, Scott tissue and plastic lips.

In addition to the movie and acting, this year’s Rocky Horror audience will be treated to a Rocky Horror-themed wedding at 8:30 p.m. before the beginning of the show at 9 p.m. 

“Two Pink Box Burlesque members are madly in love, and have chosen to share their special day with other Rocky Horror fans on Halloween Night,” said Tesla Coil.

Mary Heske, a senior majoring in psychology, went to last year’s production of the Rocky Horror Picture Show at the Bama Theatre and said she is excited to attend again this year. 

“The movie is such an off-the-wall experience,” she said. “The acting is amazing, and the story is that kind of absurd that really draws you in. Plus, who doesn’t love a young Tim Curry in drag?”

For Heske, the movie and the culture behind it is something she enjoys experiencing with other Rocky Horror enthusiasts. 

“Tuscaloosa doesn’t really have a ton to offer outside of its football culture, especially downtown, so it’s nice to be able to hang out with a bunch of excited Rocky fans once a year,” she said. 

Heske said she enjoys the sense of community Rocky Horror Picture Shows bring.

“I love the way everyone gathers to the theater, knows all the lines to the show and performs it together as an audience,” she said. “It really adds to the experience and really makes you feel like you’re amongst friends.” 

Tesla Coil said she sees the film as extremely polarizing. People either love it or hate it, she said. However, for those who love it, she says The Rocky Horror Picture Show fan base is extremely accepting. 

“Rocky Horror speaks to themes of acceptance, love and empowerment,” Coil said. “I’ve been into Rocky Horror culture since I was 16, and the people in [the Rocky Horror] scene have been some of the most accepting and tolerant people I’ve ever met.”

The Rocky Horror Picture Show will be performed and screened at the Bama Theatre on Friday. The production will begin at 9 p.m. Pre-show festivities, including a costume contest, ghost stories told by The Bob and Tyler Show, and the Rocky Horror wedding will begin at 7:45 p.m. Tickets are $15  for general admission or $20 for general admission with a prop bag. The show is 18 and older. 

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Pink Box Burlesque Presents Rocky Horror Picture