When the Avant-Garde Theater Troupe formed roughly three months ago, it sought to redefine local amateur theater by sticking to this dictionary definition:
Avant-Garde (n.): the advance group in any field, especially in the visual, literary, or musical arts, whose works are characterized chiefly by unorthodox and experimental methods.
If you go
- What | “The Rocky Horror Show”
- When | 9:30 p.m. Saturday
- Where | Drink!, 503 8th Ave. N.
- Cost | $15 per person ($12 if in costume)
- More info | Call 651-1003 or see Avant-Garde's Facebook page
Thus, it seems only right the group would choose a show as unorthodox as “The Rocky Horror Show” and a venue as experimental as Drink! in downtown Myrtle Beach for its first production.
We thought it would be a fun show to start everything off with a bang,” says Stefanie Crane, troupe founder and co-producer.
If dress rehearsal is any indication, folks can expect plenty of bang — and potentially some banging — when the cast takes the stage Saturday night.
Following the tale of two newlyweds who get caught up with a group of Transsexuals from the galaxy of Transylvania, the show will remain true to Richard O’Brien’s stage play, while still including elements of the cult favorite film’s screenings.
“This is not the shadowcast. We’re not acting along with the movie and doing all the call-outs,” said Crane. “But we do have some audience participation planned.”
She adds that while many people don’t think of “Rocky Horror” as something that’s really rehearsed, her cast and crew have been working hard to bring the show together on every level.
“Everything has been kinda slow to get up and running profit-wise and production-wise,” Crane says. “But that’s the thing about doing this sort of underground theater we’re doing.”
Crane, who also performs in the show, said starting the group has been a goal of hers since moving back to the area about a year ago after studying musical theater in New York.
“I grew up in the local community theaters here, and I just thought it’d be cool for Coastal students and some of the folks that weren’t involved in the mainstream shows to have an opportunity to do this,” she said.
The group has done well to go beyond the mainstream, filling many of its roles with folks that have little or no acting experience.
Chris Shaw, who plays the show’s title character, happened upon his role through fellow cast member Cassy Queen.
“I wasn’t really involved at first. She got cast as one of the Phantoms and I just tagged along with her,” said Shaw.
“Yeah, He came to one of the rehearsals because I was having car trouble and then next thing you know he went from reading for Riff Raff to being and understudy to being Rocky,” said Queen.
“This is my first time doing anything like this, but it’s been really fun,” said Shaw, a well-built fellow who claims he had no reservations about donning the character’s signature gold hotpants.
Even with amateurs that have been quick to learn the craft of acting, it hasn’t been easy co-ordinating everything.
“We’ve gone through a lot of cast changes,” says Crane. “With so much of our talent coming from the underground music community, playing in bands and doing a lot of other stuff, they’re not always as readily available as actors would be.”
But she remains confident the show will be a good time.
“One way or another, it’s going to be very interesting.”