HHSS to stage The Rocky Horror Picture Show
By Darren Lum
Get ready Haliburton: Let’s do the time warp again!
This Sunday, the Grade 11/12 drama class will stage the cult classic, rock musical from the 1970s, The Rocky Horror Picture Show at the Northern Lights Performing Arts Pavilion in Haliburton.
The story is centred on a young couple who seek refuge at a nearby castle when car trouble leaves them stranded in the country on a rainy night. At the castle, the couple meet a collection of characters, including the host of the residence and mad scientist, Dr. Frank-N-Furter.
“Our school improvement plan for the year and our professional development was designed around knowing your students and approaching curriculum with that in mind,” said Grade 11/12 teacher and show co-director Ryan Merritt via email. “We wanted to offer content to fit our students, who they are and what they are into. The themes in Rocky played perfectly to our students. In our small drama class, we have a myriad of individuals with a wide range of identities and that is reflected in this show. It was a seamless fit!”
The opening show is on Jan. 12 with a matinee at 2 p.m. and an evening performance follows at 7 p.m. Shows will also be on Jan.13 and 14 at 7 p.m. Admission is $10. Call the school for tickets or with any questions at 705-457-2950.
Co-director Greg Sadlier said this version of the musical will be altered, but remain true to the spirit of the story.
“Traditionally, Rocky Horror is known as a very edgy show that pushes the envelope both in regards to content and the theatrics of the performance. To make it fit with a high school cast and some of the audience who have never seen the show, some changes were made carefully while still maintaining the artistic integrity and humour. It’s a version that reflects our cast,” he wrote in an email.
Starring as Dr. Frank-N-Furter is 17-year-old Codie Wilkinson.
The third-year drama student said his inspiration for this role is actor Tim Curry, who portrayed his character in the movie version nearly 40 years ago. “I’m trying my hardest to get all of his character’s mannerisms down while also trying to stay true to my own character of being a little bit sassy as I always try to be,” he said.
The Grade 12 student, who said drama enabled him to come out of his shell and become the person he is today, didn’t have any reservations about playing this role, welcoming the opportunity when it became an option.
“Me getting to play this role and do this play is such a huge step for our town and our school, showing that we can really push comfort levels and aren’t afraid of pushing the envelope, however, we of course had to tone things down a little because the original was maybe a little too heavy for a school production. I am hoping that the audience sees that the school is filled with talented and hard working people who are willing to push their boundaries for the sake of giving a good show,” he wrote in an email.
Playing Brad Majors, the other male lead in the show, is Jordy Schell.
The Grade 11 student, who has five years of acting experience with local performances such as Oliver and Mary Poppins in the Highlands Summer Festival, appreciates this musical for how it inspires.
“I love how the musical pushes boundaries, and I think the audience could take that away, how they can push their own. That art has no limits, and it’s a huge leap for our high school to tackle a show with such mature and deep content,” he wrote in an email.
The performance also includes Macy Miscio as Janet, Wyatt Hutchings as Riff Raff, Ryanne Horsely as Magenta, April Kovacs as Columbia, Jaxon Merrifeld as the narrator, Quinton Little as Eddie/Dr. Scott, Trista Greer as Rocky, Abigail Kauffeldt, Ruthie Parker and Krystin Hope as Phantoms.
Sadlier said he hopes audiences leave the theatre thinking.
Rocky Horror “has always been a piece of art that is about inclusion, self discovery, relationships and redemption. It’s about confronting what or who is different and other, and moving beyond fear and insecurity. Our hope is audiences will walk away pondering some of these deeper points of being human. It’s also a ton of fun, so we fully anticipate audiences singing and dancing ‘The Time Warp’ for weeks to come!” Sadlier wrote.