Michael Delfino, who is playing Dr. Frank-N-Furter, performs with other Bawdy Caste members.
Cars zoom by Landmark's Guild Theatre in Menlo Park before the monthly midnight showing of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" on April 6. The cast first performed at the Guild in 2006, on Dec. 2 and 16. The show used to take place twice a month.
Audience members arrive at the Guild Theatre before the start of the midnight showing of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” on April 6.
Audience members dance to Village People’s “YMCA” before the start of the midnight showing of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” on April 6.
Nina Loschiavo secures a wig on her head. She is playing Magenta in the April 6 midnight shadow cast performance at the Guild Theatre.
Julie Shepard, who is playing Columbia, gets dressed in a boiler room in the back of the Guild. Shepard has been a member of The Bawdy Caste since 1996. She says in 2006 the troupe sent out letters to several theater managers in the Bay Area asking whether their locations would be interested in The Bawdy Caste performing alongside their midnight screenings of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” Chris Hatfield, the manager of Landmark’s Clay Theatre, read the letter and immediately started setting up shows. Shepard appeared as Janet in The Bawdy Caste’s first performance at the Guild on Dec. 2, 2006.
Siobhan Taylor, who is playing Janet, puts the finishing touches on her makeup. Taylor loves the film, as she grew up watching it with her parents. In 2008, a couple of months after turning 18, she started volunteering for the Bawdy Caste. She worked behind the scenes before transitioning into performing as a Transylvanian, Magenta, Janet and Dr. Frank-N-Furter. The role of Janet holds a special place in her heart. “I don’t look like Janet,” said Taylor. “I’m tall and curvy and it’s really empowering to play a strong, sexual female character.” She says that it doesn’t matter that most of the cast members don’t look like the film actors. Body positivity is an integral part of the cast culture. “People play the role they want to,” said Taylor. “We have members of all ages, all bodies and all genders. We work very, very hard to make it inclusive for the performers and the audience.”
Nina Loschiavo explains that the character of Magenta has the most striking eyelashes in the film. The cast’s goal is to be screen-accurate, so she wears fake eyelashes to mimic Magenta’s in the movie.
Michael Delfino puts the final touches on his Dr. Frank-N-Furter costume. Delfino is a kenpo instructor and has volunteered his weekend nights (and early mornings) to The Bawdy Caste since 2009. Though he has appeared as Brad and Rocky in previous productions of Rocky, he says playing Frank is an opportunity for him to engage with audience and cast members in a different way. “You can put your own personal spin into the part of Frank,” he said. “I play Frank with a more masculine approach, but someone else might play him to be more feminine.”
Michael Delfino’s high heels for the role of Dr. Frank-N-Furter.
The performers use a boiler room as a changing area backstage of the Guild Theatre.
Michael Delfinotakes a break outside the theater before the start of the show.
Bawdy Caste performers and crew members relax in an alley lining the side of the Guild Theatre before the start of the midnight showing.
Katie Martin, who is playing Trixie, struts past smiling audience members while a Bawdy Caste crew member heckles her. Yelling call-back lines, as the Rocky community calls them, at the screen and the actors is a normal part of Rocky culture. “It’s part of the universal aspect of ‘Rocky Horror Picture Show’ — people all over the world getting together to yell stuff at a screen,” said Michael Delfino, a Bawdy Caste member. “Without the audience, yelling their call-back lines, the cultural phenomenon that is ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’ would not exist.”
Michael Delfino, who is playing Frank, and Siobhan Taylor, who is playing Janet, perform a scene in front of the projected film. Delfino says that after learning the role of Frank by heart, he started rehearsing with cast members who would be playing characters opposite him. “You have to know how they respond to what you do so you have chemistry with your fellow castmate,” said Delfino. “It’s important to know, for example, how one Janet moves compared to another, what one is comfortable with compared to another.”
The Bawdy Caste actors perform the cabaret scene in front of the projected film during a midnight showing of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” at the Guild Theatre on April 6.
A performer throws around a feather boa during the cabaret scene of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”
Katie Martin performs as Trixie during the closing credits of the film.