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VIU students have surprises in store during ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’

Two-night production takes place Nov. 19-20 at the Malaspina Theatre
Max Kolopenuk, front, who plays Brad Majors in the Satyr Players’ production of ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’ is whisked away while rehearsing Time Warp. (Mandy Moraes/News Bulletin)

The director for this year’s production of The Rocky Horror Picture Show at the Malaspina Theatre said it will be a “go big or go home” kind of show.

The Satyr Players, Vancouver Island University’s student-run theatre club, will stage the 27th annual production of the musical comedy cult classic this weekend.

“I’ve never seen anyone do what we’re doing this year,” said Emily Dunigan, director.

As with previous years, the staging will feature a live shadow cast of nine main actors, as well as a slew of Transylvanian and ‘Lips’ characters, performing on stage while the 1975 film is projected behind them.

“This year we have a couple of stunts and we have a couple of props and set pieces which usually have been left out in previous years…” said Dunigan. “We’ve been trying to make it as close to a proper production of Rocky as we can get without doing more than a shadow play.”

Dunigan, who also plays Magenta, said that one of her biggest goals this year is to pay homage to what The Rocky Horror Picture Show really started as.

“Back in the ’70s, [it was] a safe space for the LGBTQ community. Because back then, obviously, there wasn’t really. And I find, in the last couple years, it’s really lost that message. So this year, I’ve been trying to make it a little more diverse.”

Diversity is added in the approach some roles are portrayed, including that of Rocky Horror as played by Adrien Kennedy.

“He’s pulling Rocky as a very flamboyant, tiny, submissive version instead of the ‘big tough man,’ which I personally am loving. He has a little collar and leash,” Dunigan said.

Play producer Charlie Lincoln, who also portrays a ‘Lips’ character, said the Satyr Players plan on doing what shadow plays have always intended to do – act as a parody of the original production.

Contemporary and pop culture adaptations this year will include the use of a lightsaber and toy saxophone.

“Basically everybody’s taking the conventional and making it unconventional,” said Max Kolopenuk, who plays Brad Majors.

“We have quite a few different surprises in store for everyone,” added Lincoln.

The two-night production will also include plenty of audience interactions with a designated ‘splash zone’ in the first three rows.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show will play at VIU’s Malaspina Theatre on Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 19-20. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the show starts at 7 p.m. On Saturday the cast will host a ‘moaning contest’ and on Sunday there will be a costume contest and raffle draw. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased online at

READ MORE: VIU student-run theatre company to present one-act play festival

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Mandy Moraes

About the Author: Mandy Moraes

I joined Black Press Media in 2020 as a multimedia reporter for the Parksville Qualicum Beach News, and transferred to the News Bulletin in 2022
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