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"'The Rocky Horror Show' was ahead of its time, but it's still relevant" | Israel today

2022-08-22T09:31:27.802Z

The original production of "Rocky's Horror Show" is coming to Israel for the first time straight from the West End • Director Christopher Lascomb in an interview with "Israel Today": "For 50 years the musical has been running on stages and encouraging people to be themselves"



This week, the original West End production of "Rocky's Horror Show" will land in Israel for the first time, one of the most popular musicals of all time and a cultural experience that some would describe as a roller coaster from another planet.

For the few who have not yet been exposed to the phenomenon, we will provide some background: The Horror Show was staged in London as a play in 1973 written by Richard O'Brien, which is all a tribute to the trashy horror and science fiction films that were popular from the 1940s to the early 1970s.

It is assumed that even O'Brien himself, who wrote the play while unemployed, did not think that it would be so successful, would receive a successful film adaptation (the 1975 "Rocky Show" starring Tim Curry, Susan Sarandon and Barry Bostwick), would be screened in theaters All over the world, and more importantly - will become the most beloved musical and cult film in the world, which will be screened with active audience participation, who will remember every word, sentence or nuance in the script.

Do your homework.

From the musical "The Rocky Horror Show", photo: Jeff Brod

In Israel as well, as in many places in the world, there has been an active "Rocky" community since the 1980s, and it has its own norms and laws.

In other words - those who are interested in being present in the original London production that will come to Tel Aviv, are advised to do their homework first, stock up on rice, and if it's their first time - be prepared to be marked with a V on the forehead, which means Virgin, which means a virgin of a Rocky experience.

"You can't get bored"

Interestingly, this definition was answered by the director of the play Christopher Lascomb when he approached to direct the show.

"Well, I didn't know the play very well," he admits in a telephone interview.

"Everyone knows some of Rocky's songs, and I did too. But when I was offered to direct it in 2006, I hesitated at first, because it's not something I do, it's very different for me. I direct plays and a lot of opera, not really familiar with rock musicals. No I was really sure if I wanted to, and then I listened to it a lot and I really fell in love. I never get bored of it, it's a show you can't get bored of. It has a fantastic energy, and it's fun and silly and makes you laugh. I also think the reason why it's running on stages already 50 years is his message, which encourages people to be themselves. It's a very enabling musical, especially in these times."

When Skomb talks about these times, he obviously means the era of sexual and gender fluidity, in which the horror show feels more relevant than ever.

At the center of the musical is a scientist named Frank, a colorful, charismatic, colorful and trance character.

In other words, as early as 1973, Rocky Vesham celebrated a character whose sexuality is non-binary - a topic that has only become a mainstream social and media discourse in recent years.

"A musical is very enabling."

From the musical "The Rocky Horror Show", photo: Jeff Brod


In a way, Rocky was ahead of his time.


"I totally agree! I can't believe how contemporary it feels. But I don't think it's a didactic musical, it doesn't hit people over the head with its political message. It treats its subject lightly and that's why it succeeds, feels modern and contemporary. In Britain I see the audience 80-year-old people who remember the original, and next to them are 16-17-year-olds who don't think it's outdated. Maybe it helps that when it was written, it was set in the 1950s in terms of the plot, so it was never really supposed to be aimed at a certain time."

Relevant then and now

For better or worse, we live in the age of political correctness.

Have you found yourself making adjustments to the current rendering so it doesn't offend people?

Everyone seems to be hurt by something today.


"I didn't change anything, because I feel that politically it is very correct. People think that it is a decadent play and that the main character calls for chaos, but I think it is the opposite. It tells us not to live like this and that actions have consequences. In this respect, it is a sophisticated play. Even if you refer to the character of Frank as a charismatic narcissist - in the end, he's not seen as a hero. He's very entertaining and funny and people are attracted to him, but that doesn't mean he's a good guy. His behavior is scrutinized. There's a sense that he's a bit of a dictator, and as the musical progresses he becomes obsessed with power, no Ready for someone to argue with him and that leads to his destruction. So it's actually a true parable for our time, I think."

Not aimed at a specific time.

From "The Rocky Horror Show", photo: Jeff Brod


The Rocky experience is in a way the antithesis of everything we've learned is acceptable in the theater, with the audience becoming an active part of the show.

Has it ever happened to you that the play lost control because of too much interactivity?


"I think I've always wanted to control the audience, because when I got the reins of directing 16 years ago, they pretty much ran it. The show became their territory, and it was very chaotic and I wanted to organize it again. I like the audience to enjoy it, but I want us and the cast to control it. I'm a control freak and it's important to me to stay in control. There was a period in the eighties and nineties when it really got too crazy, but I think today it's more balanced."

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Source: israelhayom

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