Pluma Blanca Community Theatre’s cast performing Rocky Horror Picture Show. Photo courtesy of Verónica G. Cárdenas.

Alien Erotica With Glitter On Top: Experience Rocky Horror Picture Show

Words by Abigail Vela 

There’s magic that happens when you step into the theatre. This was the case for me when I entered Cine El Rey on the full moon night of Saturday, October 8th. Jackie, the co-director of Rocky, welcomed me with a bright smile. She introduced me to her fellow co-director, Heather, the cast and crew. Jackie and Heather have worked on Rocky Horror Picture Show in years past, acting, producing, and directing the show with the Pluma Blanca Community Theatre. Before doors opened at 10 PM, I sat down and spoke with Jackie, Heather, and cast members about their experience producing this wild show.

 

Jackie Treviño (she/her) is the artistic director for the Pluma Blanca Community Theatre. She and Heather Diaz (she/her), who is also on the production team for Pluma Blanca Community Theatre, co-directed this year’s production of Rocky Horror Picture Show. They have been involved in creating Rocky Horror over the years. Heather shared, “I am co-directing this year with Jacklyn Trevino. I think I’ve been involved since 2012 when Lisa directed with Cine El Rey. Then Pluma Blanca took over with Jackie, and I jumped back in as a production member and ended up being an assistant director that same year.” Jackie added, “Year after year, it seems like the team manages to get better and better. And as the company’s been around longer, leadership development is a priority of ours, and so we’ve seen that come to fruition with the way that people have grown in their production capacity. Especially this year, we have former actors that are the costume director, we’ve got actors that are assistant directing, co-directing, so people keep consistently coming back.”

Lead actor Eric Saucedo. Photo courtesy of Verónica G. Cárdenas.

I asked everyone what their favorite part was about being in Rocky Horror Picture Show. Eric Saucedo (he/him), who plays the show’s lead, Dr. Frank N. Furter, answered, “The environment with Pluma Blanca has been really welcoming, and not only has it been welcoming, it has been team-driven, and team focused. It really makes me feel at home. It’s just been a great experience in that regard this whole time.” Eric Saucedo expressed further, “A show like this breaks through those barriers, and it does really give a sense of freedom for the community down here.”

Eric Saucedo brilliantly plays the role of Dr. Frank N. Furter on stage. Photos courtesy of Verónica G. Cárdenas.

Saucedo revealed that this was his first time taking on a lead role, but is experienced in playing villains. “Besides all the cannibalistic murder and stuff, he’s a very confident, outgoing guy that can really power through anything and get what he wants. It’s a very empowering role, and it’s also a very fun role. I’ve always been attracted towards playing the villain. Like Audrey II from Little Shop of Horrors, the plant. And all the adversaries in Zoot Suit… After I auditioned and got the part, I was like, oh, I got the villain again. I guess it’s a lot more fun. Also, a story is always as good as its villain. Without that conflict, there is no story; there is no excitement. I guess that’s what I bring – I bring the excitement, I bring the tension.” 

 

Cast members expressed their thoughts on their experiences acting for Rocky Horror Picture Show. “My favorite part about putting on this show is actually being able to come out of my comfort show. I’m not one to like to be on stage. This is my second time on the show. The first time, I would prefer being in the back,” Jennifer Peña (she/they) enthusiastically shared, “I’m one of the Transylvanians, so our job is to interact with the audience. For me, it’s really about getting out of the comfort zone and trying to make connections with people.”

 

Rose Silva embodies the role of Columbia. Photo courtesy of Verónica G. Cárdenas.

Rose Silva (they/them), who plays the role of Columbia, chimed in, “I think just creating a safe environment for every individual regardless of who they may be or where they may come from, just feeling comfortable within themselves, surrounded by people who are just trying to find a place where they feel connected with a community, where, unfortunately, especially where we’re from, there is not a lot of inclusivity around here. So finding a safe space…might make a difference for somebody. I think that’s the beautiful part about doing this show to me. It’s about creating this environment.”

Rocky Horror Picture Show is considered a cult classic, with a following that dates back to the 70s. Jackie said, “Culturally, I feel like it is a lifetime milestone that people look forward to. It would be a shame if there simply wasn’t one in the valley… And as we all know in the valley, if you don’t have documented status, you can’t leave to experience things, so I think having Rocky available here for people to experience that milestone just as they do everywhere else in the United States is really important.” Heather added, “People have been following, especially the shadow cast, since the 70s. We were gone two years because of the pandemic, and now we’re coming back and people lost their minds about it. So it was super amazing to have that amazing support from the community.

A roll of rainbow stickers backstage. Photo courtesy of Verónica G. Cárdenas.

Additionally, some of the most important aspects of Rocky Horror Picture Show are its inclusive nature and queer visibility. Rocky Horror serves as a safe space and experimental experience for folks in our LGBTQIA+ community here in the RGV. “Queer visibility is so important,” Heather stated, “It’s one of the things I’ve fought for, not just for myself, being a queer woman in the community, but for my friends that are not comfortable coming out or are barely coming out. It’s a part of the process for a lot of people in the show, being in the show.”

 

Alfredo Torres (he/him), costume director and actor for Dr. Scott in Rocky, reminisced, “I want to say 2015, maybe, that I came and, being raised a Jehova’s witness in Mexico, it was a shock seeing this going on. I was like, I have to be a part of this as soon as possible. I just want to make sure that this space continues to be there for any other person that doesn’t feel accepted or doesn’t feel like they are being seen or celebrated. Because we want them to feel the warmth that we have and we want them to feel that they exist, they’re valid, their emotions and queerness is more than welcomed here.”

Brooklyn Mars on stage hosting the pre-show. Photo courtesy of Verónica G. Cárdenas.

Local drag queen extraordinaire Brooklyn Mars (she/her) hosts the pre-show for Rocky Horror. She expressed the importance that Rocky Horror was for her. “It really gave me a platform when I was young, starting to do drag in my community – it gave me a voice for people to learn who I am, and fast forward to six years later, it’s kind of like every year we do the show, we build a family… I would say it’s very important because it gives a sense of community to those who might not have a very open of welcome family in their life.”

The cast of Pluma Blanca Community Theatre performing on stage and celebrating after the show. Photos courtesy of Verónica G. Cárdenas.

The cast shared unique answers when asked to describe Rocky Horror in a few words and share what audiences should expect without giving much away. Eric Saucedo explained that audiences should expect “Skin, lots of skin, lots of water, lots of fog, and lots of lights, and a really good fucking show,” and added that he would describe Rocky Horror as “Frankenstein, hot, and bothered.” Rose Silva described it in four words: “Defiance, inclusivity, individuality, safety.” Alfredo Torres added, “You’re definitely in for a good time. It’s a lot of liberation, it’s a lot of being able to have a lot of fun, and let your frustrations to get out.” In conclusion, as Brooklyn Mars creatively stated, “You can expect two and a half hours of alien erotica with glitter on top.”

It was a pleasure to speak (and briefly participate as the bride) with the warm and welcoming cast and crew of this year’s Rocky Horror Picture Show. Whatever you do, don’t miss out on an impeccably immersive experience. There are two opportunities left to check out the Pluma Blanca Community Theatre’s production of Rocky Horror Picture Show:

Photo courtesy of Verónica G. Cárdenas.

More Articles

Social Justice

Texas Is Counting On You To Cast Your Vote

Vote for reproductive justice. Vote for the rights of LGBTQIA+, Indigenous, Latinx, and POC communities. Vote for affordable healthcare. Vote for a higher minimum wage. Vote for quality education. Vote for gun reform. Vote for climate justice. Vote for your friends, family, and neighbors.

Read More »
Arts & Culture

Death Binds Movements Together

On this year’s Dia de los Muertos, organizers for immigration and reproductive justice issues in the Rio Grande Valley used their altars to educate audiences and honor the lives lost.

Read More »

Suggested Articles: