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VOL 120, Issue 9 - November 10th, 2022

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06

THURSDAY

NOV. 10,

2022

The Show

MusT Must Go On

CONTINUED FROM FRONT PAGE

07

SCENE

MEGAN ROBERTSON

Staff Writer

Almost 300 USF students and San Franciscans took to campus

last Saturday in fishnet stockings and platform boots to watch the

College Players’ production of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”

The College Players, USF’s student-run theater company, continued

their yearly devotion to the film. For over a decade, they have

started their season with “Rocky Horror.”

The movie flopped when it debuted in the ‘70s, but queer communities

have since embraced it around the globe. “Rocky Horror

was one of the first movies to show complex LGBTQIA+ characters,

an aspect which has gained the film a kind of ‘ritualized worship,’”

reporting from the BBC notes. “It’s a love letter to queer history,”

said Fen Wright, a third-year psychology major and one of the show’s

directors.

Each year, theaters, performing arts troupes, and bars perform

a classic “shadow cast” version of the show. Fans watch the 1975 film

play on a large screen, while performers simultaneously lip sync and

dance to the musical. Audience interaction is one of the main components

of the show; throughout the film people in the crowd yell

responses to the movie’s dialogue.

“Rocky Horror is a really interesting movie because it’s a product

of its time, but revolves around whoever is performing it and their

identities,” Wright said.

While the College Players kept certain “Rocky Horror” traditions

like audience involvement alive, a COVID-19 case presented a

new challenge to cast members.

Two days prior to opening night, one of the lead actors playing

Riff Raff tested positive for COVID-19 and they did not have an

understudy.

Sam Joon Fernandez, an ensemble actor, stepped into the role

with only two days to prepare — a challenging task for Fernandez’s

first theater production.

In an interview with the Foghorn on opening night, Fernandez

said the audience actually calmed his nerves. “The audience response

has been amazing, and it’s made my job on stage really easy. It was

really super fun to be able to do this role.”

“Putting Sam in a main role, he’s really come into his own,”

Wright said. “He got the blocking instantly, because he had watched

Taylor Griffin takes the stage as “Frank N. Furter.” PHOTO BY LEILA TSELNER/SF FOGHORN

the previous person do it so many times.”

The College Players are one of many theater groups around the

globe that have stuck to the “show must go on” spirit in coexisting

with COVID-19. In early 2022, NPR found that in one Broadway

show alone, producers canceled a week’s worth of shows due to a

COVID-19 outbreak. When the show resumed, more than 60% of

the roles on stage were performed by understudies.

Despite the COVID-19 induced challenges of the performance,

audiences enjoyed themselves. Elena Freiwald, a fifth-year performing

arts and social justice major, was excited to see the show for the

first time. “It was pretty crazy. I loved how into it the audience was.

Even though I had never watched the movie before I was able to follow

the storyline pretty well because of the callers and the actors doing

such an amazing job,” she said.

For Freiwald, “The Time Warp” performance stood out. The

20-person cast stormed the stage to dance along to one of the film’s

most iconic musical numbers. “It’s such a classic. The choreography

was excellent and everyone performed it with a lot of energy,” she

said.

A lively, fun performance coexisted with more serious moments

in the show. In one instance, the College Players’ cast left the stage

entirely, as the scene in the film involved sexual coercion. Moments

like this have brought up larger arguments over the dated and problematic

nature of some of the show’s content.

Phoebe Perkins, a second-year politics major and a co-director of

the show, said that the creative team focuses on performer well-being

because the content can be intense. “We have our consent workshop

at the beginning of the production, essentially to establish that anyone

is allowed to say they are uncomfortable with blocking at any

time,” she said. “We check in with actors every step of the way.”

As the executive producer of the College Players, Wright supports

the company’s yearly return to “Rocky Horror.” The show continues

because of what it means to the queer community, especially in

San Francisco. “It is easy to make fun of it as a bad movie, but it’s also

interesting to watch it as a love letter to queer history,” Wright said.

The love for the film and its legacy of camp and queerness

brought together the audience and the cast that night. “I love theater

at the end of the day,” Wright said. “Talking to the cast and crew,

they also love theater and they can feel the love from each other. I

hope the audience can feel the love of theater through us.”

Left to right, Audrey Walker, Amogh Kaushik, Alex Zeng-Yang, and Gabriel true performing with USF‘s Classical Choral Ensemble. PHOTO COURTESY OF GAKU SHIMORA

SERENA FINNEY

Staff Writer

The Lone Mountain Studio Theater hushed in astonishment as Jasper Li

produced a song live on a synthesizer at Thursday night’s Fall Music Showcase,

presented by the performing arts department. Li started by pressing a couple of

buttons that produced simple beats, and it seemed like we were in for a DJ set.

But then, he began layering those beats with vocal, orchestral, and percussive

soundbytes. The audience gasped and exclaimed as Li strutted away from his synthesizer

and towards a grand piano to play over the song that he had just created.

“This was really different,” Li, a fourth-year performing arts and social justice

major (PASJ), said. “That was the loudest clap I ever received.”

Li was not the only performer to leave the crowd speechless. The showcase

featured 15 performances from students across the performing arts department

and other majors.

The night began with an eloquent performance of “Sonata a Quattro” by

USF’s Chamber Ensemble. The soothing hum of the violin, viola, bassoon, and

cello serenaded the audience. Their performance, led by music director Daria

D’Andrea, was a smooth start to the evening.

President Father Paul F. Fitzgerald, S.J. sat in the front row. Beaming with

excitement he said, “There is something so special about the students of USF.”

Some performers used the showcase as an opportunity to leap out of their

comfort zones. Cherrie Liu, a first-year performing arts and social justice major,

debuted her self-composed piece “Ashes” in her first ever live performance. Rocking

an electric guitar and a punk-chic look, Liu demanded the audience’s attention.

“My professor inspired me to perform tonight, even showcase my song,”

she said.

Returning performers came to the stage with fresh content they were excited

to share with the crowd. Mikayla Jazmyn, a third-year communications major,

flaunted her vocal talents through a debut of their soulful original “Before the

Fall.” According to Jazmyn, the song was inspired by “a summer of letting go” of

her own fears and negativity. Eliora Brown-Egue accompanied Jazmyn on piano

and Liu was on electric bass, adding an element of funk to the performance.

When Molly Bell, a first-year PASJ major, came on stage, she brought

the audience into her world. Basked under a golden spotlight, she played her

self-composed song “Jeremy,” on an acoustic guitar that she painted with hearts.

Bell said she wants to keep making music after college. “I want to continue editing

my music and focus on writing more original songs,” she said.

To close the evening, the USF Classical Chorus Ensemble came together for

an a capella performance of “Wanting Memories,” sending the crowd home in

good spirits.

“There’s something enchanting about listening to people sing as a group. It

really captivated me,” said Alston Georges, a first-year PASJ major.

The night left other PASJ students feeling proud of their peers and optimistic

about music and performance in their own lives. First-year PASJ major, Iman

Moaddeli said, “The show inspired me about the vast possibilities that exist in

the sounds and melodies we make. It’s always exciting to see what other people

are thinking and how they express themselves.”

Foghorn News Editor Megan Robertson performed in the Fall Music Showcase.

SCENE

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