Here's a basic truth about Rocky Horror: Every cast is different.
Here's another: Every cast is the same.
Oh, they vary in many ways, some subtle and some not-so-subtle. But when it comes right down to it, there are a lot of very similar (and similarly minded) people who are drawn to the contact sport of heading off to the theatre on the weekend, strapping on fancy underwear, spangly jackets and space suits and performing the Rocky Horror Picture Show in front of adoring crowds.
Some of you may have noticed these "types" over the years. When you've seen enough casts (and I've seen plenty), you can start to recognize and categorize various Rocky personalities. Sometimes they remind you of someone you knew long ago. Sometimes they look or sound like friends. Sometimes they grate on you, calling to mind people you simply couldn't stand back when you did the show. But there they are, despite the passing of years, just as their predecessors were.
So, briefly, I would like to review some of these RHPS stereotypes. See if you spot some people you know. Or see if the people in your cast are a mix or amalgam of one (or several) of these personalities. Even better: see if, just maybe, you spot yourself.
Here they are:
1. The Lunatic. Unpredictable, impulsive, energetic and tireless. In our cast, this was a fellow named Ron. The Lunatic can be counted on to be arrested at least once a year, usually for simply behaving inappropriately in a public venue. Occasionally immensely irritating. Guaranteed to come complete with a troubled past. And, of course, generally very popular with the ladies. Why is that, I wonder?
2. The Nice Girl. Pretty and sweet. Not a likely candidate for Rocky, but drawn impulsively to join the cast. Usually from a Good Home with Supportive Parents and a High Grade Point Average. Our "Nice Girl" was Tracey and she was a peach. The Nice Girl will almost always prove to be one of the best actresses in the show, but simply because it comes naturally. (And they almost always play Janet.)
3. The Big Guy. Generally an Eddie, this is a huge, frightening looking but surprisingly kind-hearted cast member who is generally thought of as the most treasured person in the cast. Super smart as well. But big as the great outdoors. Ours was named Donny. Guaranteed that your Big Guy will be remembered as the kindest, most wonderful and freaking terrifying guy around. Until you get to know him, of course.
4. The Shouter (aka Motormouth): Knows a callback to each and every line in the film and CANNOT stop yelling throughout the show. The downside- he/she never listens to anyone else's lines and drowns people out constantly. The upside- knows the top 50 funniest callbacks and cracks up the crowd. If they stuck just to the top fifty and pulled back 25% of the time, they'd be the most popular person in the theatre but...they can't shut up for that long. This I will guarantee: EVERY cast has a Shouter.
5. The Natural Leader (usually the Cast Leader): Organized, semi-inspirational, obsessively anal about cast finances, props, costumes and attendance and can usually be counted on to put together all the special events during the year (switch nights and the like). Our Leader was named Russ. We loved him to pieces.
6. The Diva. Sharp tongued and moody, this Columbia-type is unwilling to put up with much bullshit and abhors criticism of herself. Not to be crossed. Also terrifically good in the show and knows it. Usually a knockout and completely untouchable. Ours was named Sunday. GrrrrrrOWL.
7. The Closeted Boy. Just thisclose to coming out of the closet, this young gay man got into Rocky to see if it was a safe place to reveal his sexual preference. He will soon discover that it is and then...look out.
These are just a few. I'm sure you can think of many more. Throw 'em in the comments, if you like.
Yours in Rocky fraternity-
Kevin "Jack" Theis
(Full disclosure: I wrote about this sort of thing with my writing partner, Ron Fox, and published it in the book "Confessions of a Transylvanian." If you haven't heard of it, check it out at www.RockyConfessions.com)