An army of students clad in fishnets, corsets and plenty of drag surrounded the Del Mar Theater on Friday and Saturday night for Slugs in Fishnets’ annual production of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” This year was the eighth annual showing at the Del Mar, and once again it sold out.
The Del Mar show is a way for people of all shapes, sizes and gender to find freedom and humor in sexuality.
The 1975 cult movie features a traditional couple, Janet and Brad, stumbling across a mansion of sex-obsessed alien transvestites.
“This is a movie that came out and became popular through midnight showings,” said Scott Griffin, programmer of the midnight shows for the Del Mar and Nickelodeon Theatres. “It’s definitely an interactive theater experience, not at all like going and watching a movie.”
As college and high school students entered the theater atop sexy stilettos, a condom balloon bopped around overhead. The theater buzzed with energy and anticipation, and attendees danced in the aisles as they waited for the show to begin.
After a raffle for stickers and DVDs donated by Streetlight Records, student directors Kristina Acosta and Megan Gaebler announced the rules.
“This is the longest running audience participation movie in the world,” Acosta said. “It’s just like great sex: if you don’t participate, you can’t come!”
“Can I get an attitude check?” Acosta called. “FUCK YOU!” the audience screamed back.
As the film played on the screen, a shadow cast lip-synched and performed along with the movie on a stage in front of the screen. A majority of people in the theater already knew exactly what to yell in response to the performers’ provocations.
The audience included UC Santa Cruz students, high school students and plenty of older participants.
Second-year UCSC transfer student Samantha Elrite took her mother to see the show for the first time. As a child, Elrite would come home from elementary school and watch the movie.
“I first saw it when I was 12,” Elrite said.
Her mother, Molly, said she was very excited to see the show. “I feel like a kid tonight, I finally have a little liberty!”
The next production of Slugs in Fishnets will be in November at the Merrill Cultural Center.
“It’s such a naughty culture,” said second-year Nina Morente, who has seen the show many times. “There’s no such thing as shame in “Rocky.””