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Doing the Time Warp on the Coastside

The crowd milling about was enough to make any Coastsider stop and pinch his or her wrist for a quick reality check. Black leather, skimpy garters, merry widows, fishnet stockings, towering heels. Sequins and glitter. Patent leather. Shiny blue and spiky pink hair. Daring cleavage, skintight pants.

A bad dream or a worse movie? No, just Coastal Repertory Theatre just before curtain time at the second late-night Saturday performance of “The Rocky Horror Show,” on Aug. 11.

A lot of audience had dressed up for the occasion a la campy Rocky Horror, ready to sing along, shout along, toss popcorn or papers, and otherwise enjoy themselves in the true, traditional Rocky style that landed with the movie in the mid-1970s. A surreal time was had by all.

Public reaction to “Rocky” has been mixed. Some viewers loved it, and some of those weren’t what you’d expect. Several octogenarian women on opening night were all smiles over intermission refreshments. One of them, who’d never heard of Rocky Horror before, giggled like a girl when she said what fun she’d had and that she wanted to come back! Others disdained it as an exercise in tawdry tastelessness, poorly disguised as entertainment. Some, like the mature couple I know who are regular theater attendees but said they’d pass on this one, simply chose to skip it altogether. Still others heralded it as a sign of degeneration on the Coastside.

Granted, Rocky Horror is just a little bit of a departure for this town. It’s not the first time for Coastal Rep: back in the 1980s, as This Side of the Hill Players and at a time when the AIDS pandemic was first beginning to draw public shudders, it staged the one-act “On Tidy Endings” (by Harvey Fierstein, out of his “Safe Sex” trilogy) which put a human face on that disease, and which got a similar mixed bag of response. (I know; I played homophobic lawyer June, in that one.)

But think, isn’t pushing the envelope, introducing people to something outside their comfort zone, part of what theater – let alone great literature -- is supposed to do? Isn’t that part of a very sweeping tradition that can count classics like “The Crucible,” “To Kill a Mockingbird” or “Inherit the Wind” in its numbers?

What’s to do when faced with something new, potentially discomforting or unpleasant? The easy answer is to rail against or loudly decry it. It’s a safe response, often involving defense, a protection of the comfortable, established and familiar. Self-continuance is second nature.

A higher ground might be to analyze or evaluate the points it makes, to see if there’s something worth looking at. Maybe there’s a need crying out to be addressed. “To Kill a Mockingbird” spoke out against racism, certainly a touchy issue then and, sadly, now.

Maybe the scariest thing to do is look straight into the mirror such an experience tends to hold up. What might be lurking behind the discomfort? If it’s something you simply don’t like, you don’t have to embrace it. You don’t have to adopt fishnet stockings or change your convictions. Still, it may be illuminating to understand what triggered the response, and then, maybe, grow a little.

Here on the Coastside, there’s a tendency toward knee-jerk response, causing bruises that intelligent analysis and thoughtfulness could heal. Sometimes it’s embarrassing to read responses that want just a moment of thought. It’s sad to see what is intended as an exchange of ideas deteriorate into a virtual or actual shouting match. It’s frightening when the head-butting of opposing opinions escalates into so much shouting that communication can’t be heard.

“Rocky Horror” is, as its director indicated to me, a rollercoaster ride (a clarification from the July 25 story). All the songs, the storyline, the characters in its science fiction/double feature/picture show, cascade right along and bring the viewer into its own surreal world. There’s a dizzying lot to see and experience. But really, it’s just a theatrical slice of the pie of life. There’s one more weekend before it closes. Go have fun with it. Maybe think a little. You don’t have to buy that merry widow.


Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance. - Will Durant


One of the problems I have with your writing is the total lack of research. You mention The Crucible as a production that This Side Of The Hill Players produced...oops wrong. That production has never been done. Do you bother to read the scripts before you see the shows for review? I think that might be a smart idea. What about honesty in your reporting. I heard that you auditioned for a role in Rocky Horror and did not get in. Out of fairness and honest reporting...shouldn't you have mentioned that?

I think if you, as a critic, audition for a show you should remove yourself from ever reviewing that production.

Be honest and do your research Ms. Trevenon.

I think The Rocky Horror Show was great! If the critic did in fact audition for it, she should NOT be allowed to review it. It's pretty obvious that she's jaded and jealous that better performers than her got the parts.

Personally, I think the review needs to hire someone with more intelligence to review the coastsides entertainment.

To anyone who was a part of the show, fantastic job!

Teri, Please reread the blog. Nowhere is it claimed that "The Crucible" had been staged by This Side of the Hill Players/Coastal Repertory Theatre. That play was mentioned as part of a generalized comment on theatre tradition. I did audition for "Rocky" with every expectation of NOT getting in, knowing it would be a movement/dance-heavy show and I'm not a strong dancer. Luckily a ton of skilled dancers and talented actors/singers showed up at auditions to fill the bill! I had fun in the audience the three times I saw it (at rehearsal for my preview story, and twice in production.)


You still should never review a play you have auditioned for. Period.

No critic would think that is the right thing to do. Get real.

I've never heard of someone auditionig with the intention of not getting a part. Interesting.

Teri, get over yourself, your attacks on Stacey are pointless.

There is nothing pointless about a critic misleading the public by not revealing the facts of her participation with an organization before offering critical comment. If I worked at Cetrella and was replaced by a chef deemed more skilled, would it be fair for me to review the restaurant? As a season ticket holder and fan of all the hard working people at our local theater, I think Ms. Trvenon has an obligation to report with honesty. The public should have been told that she had auditioned for the play. You should get a life.

What am I missing here?

Stacy's blog post is *not* a review of the show but merely a story about the public's reaction to it, correct? I really do not understand what "critical comment" she is/was providing. Is the problem here reading comprehension, bitterness or both?

If you were a chef at Cetrella, seems like you would put in baking powder when the recipe calls for baking soda and then tell the maitre d to field the complaints.

What you are missing is that in the paper Stacy reviewed this show. She had auditioned for it, didn't get cast and didn't tell the public. That is wrong and any reputable critic will tell you so.

Stop snorting what you think is Baking Soda Brian.

uh, yes, and she loved it, so why is there such a problem in that she "didn't get cast and didn't tell the public"?

Web Link

Did she forget to mention someone that you know? Why so bitter? And what is a "reputable critic" exactly? What is the real reason for the continued personal attacks? You are going to have to make a better case or drop it.

Final comment.

Like the play or not a "reputable" critic would let people know that she/he had auditioned for the show. While the review was "mostly" positive, perhaps she saved her negative remarks for the person playing the role she imagined herself playing. Furthermore, her explanation that she auditioned with the expectation of not getting in the show is just plain embarrassing.

Clearly my remarks have struck a chord or no response would have been needed. How about we poll the Review readers and see what they think?

If I may...

Teri has a point. We should have noted that Stacy auditioned for the play. (Stacy is active in the local theater community -- a fact, I might add, that I think makes her more authoritative on matters of local performance. We do not allow her to review performances when she is part of the action.)

I knew that she had auditioned for a role and simply forgot when it came time for the review. In any event, as Mr. Ginna rightly points out, Stacy gave a favorable review of the performance and liked it so much that she went to see it more than once.

So Teri has a point, though I think she has gone a little off the deep end in making it.


Thank you for your response.

I care about the local theatre and have for the 20 years I have been a season ticket holder. If my concern went overboard I apologize.

I appreciate when people can admit errors.

Teri, I guess all of the plays you have watched over the last 20 years have led you to be overly dramatic. Hopefully your rampage is over now, but I think you owe Stacy a more sincere, direct apology that your feeble attempt above.

I do not see that Stacey did anything wrong. Terri, you started off raging on Stacey about "The Crucible" and kept whining. Enough already. Sheesh.

Keep going Stacey. You writing is just fine.

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