Fall Arts Preview: Theater Listings

The Rocky Horror Show

Thursday, Oct. 27—Saturday, Nov. 5. 2:30 p.m. (Saturday) and 7:30 p.m. Loeb Ex. Free. Tickets available only at the Loeb Drama Center Box Office, 64 Brattle St.

With the exception of the offhand Off-Broadway staging, the transcendentally bizarre and transsexually titillating “Rocky Horror Show” has been largely experienced by audiences in its big-screen “Picture” form. For decades, fans of the cult classic have taken pleasure in dressing up as characters and yelling obscenities at midnight screenings. But this fall, HRDC will be offering a live alternative for those who tend to linger around Loews Harvard Square late on a Saturday night in Frank-N-Furter drag. Director John R. Drake ’06 says that he and the rest of the production staff, including producer Nina M. Catalano ’08, who is also a Crimson editor, are committed to making this incarnation of “Rocky Horror” their own by “doing a couple of interesting things with the set and story.” Without divulging his precise plans, Drake says he envisions the show as “all about spectacle and humor and being humongous.”

Unfortunately— at least for diehard Rocky Horror fans who relish yelling extra lines and using props like toast, cards, and water guns—traditional audience participation will be discouraged at Harvard’s “Rocky Horror Show.” Drake says this decision was made to protect the actors and the theater space: “I hope people understand that there’s something very different about screaming ‘SLUT!’ at a screen and screaming ‘SLUT!’ at an undergraduate ten feet in front of you. Also, we can’t have people throwing toast and squirting water on stage. It isn’t safe.”

While it may be difficult to entertain audiences who already know and dearly love the movie, the production staff insists they are up to the challenge. “I’m a huge fan of the music, story, and icon that is Rocky Horror,” says Drake. “With the creative team we have behind it, it promises to be fun, exciting, new, and, of course, very hot.”

—Marin J.D. Orlosky

Slavs!

Friday, Nov. 11—Saturday, Nov. 19. 2:30 p.m. (Saturday) and 8:00 p.m. Loeb Mainstage. Tickets available at the Harvard Box Office and Loeb Drama Center Box Office, 64 Brattle St.

“Art that’s polite is not much fun,” playwright Tony Kushner told the progressive magazine Mother Jones in 1995. And though Kushner has won an Emmy, a Pulitzer, and two Tonys, he has never won an award for being polite.

Kushner’s 1994 play “Slavs!” tells the story of 12 characters living in the final years before the breakup of the Soviet Union. In “Slavs!,” according to director Aoife E. Spillane-Hinks ’06, “words are physical necessities that flood out of every character’s mouth, as blood from a wound.” According to Spillane-Hinks, words propel the play’s plot because, in the particular universe of Kushner’s provocative play, “dialogue is action.” Significantly, the only silent character is a young girl dying of cancer, whose physical decay becomes “synonymous with speechlessness.”

The topics considered in the play—disease, the Soviet Union, environmental poisoning, and sexuality—are but a launching pad for the play’s ultimate aim: to trigger an emotional response from viewers who might recognize themselves in the story.

According to Spillane-Hinks, as the gap between the stage and the real world shrinks during the course of the play, it will become clear that the subject matter “is not something relegated to the snowy streets of Moscow.” She adds: “This is in America—this is everywhere.” And for one week in November, it will be here—on the Loeb Mainstage.

—Bianca M. Stifani

Lulu

Friday, Oct. 21—Saturday, Oct. 29. Loeb Mainstage. 2:30 p.m. (Saturday) and 8:00pm. Loeb Mainstage. Tickets available at the Harvard Box Office and Loeb Drama Center Box Office, 64 Brattle St.

In the prologue of playwright Frank Wedekind’s “Lulu,” which will be shown as part of the Visiting Director’s Project, a ringmaster announcing the various animals in his circus comes finally to the titular Lulu herself, who is introduced as a beguiling snake.