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College of Humanities & Fine Arts

The Rocky Horror Picture Show

Performance of the Rocky Horror Picture Show

Behind the Scenes with:

The Rocky Horror Picture Show

Spooky season is upon us and what better way to celebrate than by going to see The Rocky Horror Picture Show! Chico State is putting on its very own performance on campus beginning on Thursday, October 17th through Sunday, October 20th. The Rocky Horror Picture Show dabbles in horror, comedy and music. 

Frank-N-Furter, the mad scientist, is portrayed by Chico State student, Juan Bolanos. I had a few questions for Bolanos about playing such a bold and vibrant character. I also had a few questions for Megan Zollinger, who holds a BA in Dance from Chapman University, and an MFA in Dance from the University of California, Irvine. Zollinger was the director and choreographer for the show. 

Juan, what do you love about this character?

I love how unapologetic Frank is. No matter their flaws, they are comfortable with who they are and even when they do something “problematic” they embrace the issue and expand the minds of others.

What’s the biggest challenge about taking on this role?

I am a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community but one of my biggest challenges was breaking out of my shell and finding comfortability in portraying a character who is so open about their sexuality, along with making sure I’m serving the trans community in a positive light and doing them justice.

How did you prepare for the role?

In order to prepare for this role, I did continuous research on the trans community and spent a lot of time dealing with my emotions and sexuality. I wanted to prove that not only am I comfortable in my own skin to perform and respect the art of drag, but also to respect the lives of trans people.

Besides yourself, which actor in this production is going to blow people away?

It is hard to pick just one because the whole cast is working so hard and I’m friends with all of them. But, if I had to choose one, my favorite actor would be Jenna Kites otherwise known as Columbia. Jenna has been doing such a great job at discovering new moments of weirdness and never fails to make me laugh. She always makes me break character a couple of times.

What’s the last thing you do before you step out on stage / the curtain goes up?

The last thing I do is spend at least 5 minutes backstage to meditate on Frank’s spirit, making sure to take deep breaths and just get my mind in the mood.

When you have a five-minute break during rehearsal, what do you spend that time doing?

When I have a five minute break I like to spend it going over my blocking for something we are about to run or something we had just got done running. Sometimes, I’ll also speak with the rest of my cast to check in with them or compliment their choices.

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Megan, what sort of person is going to love this show?

This show reaches a wide range of audience members. Whether you’re a regular theatre attendee, or perhaps just familiar with the film version, it will certainly be entertaining.

Why did you want to be involved in this production?

I have had a love affair with The Rocky Horror Show for years. Besides attending many RH Picture Shows in the Bay Area in my late teens/early twenties, I have choreographed the show before as well. Getting the opportunity to both direct and choreograph the show was very exciting to me. Not only do I get to step into those roles, but I get to do so with my students, bringing this classic story to life.

Were there any challenges that were faced directing the show?

Absolutely. From week one, we have been faced with injuries, and multiple illnesses, just to name a couple. Some of these are pretty typical, but we seemed to have been faced with more than usual. None of which, may I add, have set us back. This incredible cast has worked tirelessly in spite of the challenges.

Can you tell me a little bit more about the choreographer you’ve been involved in this year?

I am choreographing for the next show, She Kills Monsters and In the Heights at Chico State in the Spring. Additionally, I will be directing and choreographing a world premiere play titled Give My Regards to Christmas, a Christmas Cabaret produced by Legacy Stage, a new professional theatre company in Chico.

Do you have any advice for people who want to go into the acting industry?

Put in the work, and make sure you love it. It will be the hardest thing in the world to do, but if you can’t see yourself doing anything else, then don’t give up.

-- Interview by Delila Solomon, PR Intern, College of Humanities and Fine Arts