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VPR's coverage of arts and culture in the region.

It's Just A Jump To The Left: Pentangle Arts Takes On The Rocky Horror Show

Let's do the Time Warp again! The stage version of the Richard O'Brien-penned cult classic The Rocky Horror Show turns 40 this year and Woodstock's Pentangle Arts will stage performances of the iconic audience-participation favorite beginning Friday, Oct. 23 with a special showing at midnight on Halloween at the Woodstock Town Hall Theater.

In a storyline that follows naive newlyweds with car trouble as they seek help at the bizarre house of a male mad scientist wearing women's clothing, The Rocky Horror Show packs in plenty of camp and sexual innuendo and chances for the audience to sing along and shout out classic lines.

Queechee actor Paul West portrays the scientist, Dr. Frank-N-Furter  — played by actor Tim Curry in the 1975 movie version — and he spoke recently with VPR about his role in the play.

On his acting background

"I started in high school. I kind of got forced into it to complete a grade in English class and the bug hit me. I went to California and did theater, did a theater conservatory, did theater in New York, D.C., Chicago."

On what he brings to the role of Dr. Frank-N-Furter

"That's a really tough part for me because people come to the show expecting to see the movie. They expect to see certain things and so they have expectations of a little bit of Tim Curry. So I have to definitely bring some of his performance to it but at the same time make it my own and bring my own devilish twist to it. We've stuck pretty close to the original script.... we try to hold true to Richard O'Brien's work."

On who should go see The Rocky Horror Show at Pentangle Arts

"Pentangle has done some great shows in the past... but they were very much family-oriented. This one is great for the family as long as the family is ready for it! We are trying to get in a younger crowd. And trying to get, you know, some of the people who wouldn't normally think of going to the theater to come out and see that there is always a performance for somebody."

On how people who identify as transgender informed his role

"Well, our timing couldn't have been any better and I wish we could say that we did it on purpose but when we chose this play, we didn't realize it was the 40th anniversary.

"We didn't realize that the transgender issue would be coming to the forefront of media as it is right now and it just seems like everything is aligned to make this the perfect time to put this show on. It certainly has helped me as far as to put together a character. There are more things out there to study and research and find examples of that really can help make the role comfortable. He is a transvestite but he is also technically an alien from another planet and possibly a time-traveler, too. He definitely has to be a character and the audience... certainly expects a certain amount of 'over the top' with him but that doesn't mean it can't be grounded in some sort of reality...It's finding that reality within that over-the-top character."

Find show times of Pentangle Arts' performances of The Rocky Horror Show here.

Mary Williams Engisch is a local host on All Things Considered.
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