This time of year, unusual things seem to be taking place as students, both male and female, don their leather corsets and platform shoes.
QuantUM Entertainment, a branch of Hurricane Productions, is kicking off the Halloween season with three nights of the “Rocky Horror Picture Show,” which runs Thursday through Saturday. Since its start more than a decade ago, QuantUM has produced “Rocky Horror” every fall semester.
The show follows a newly married couple one evening as a flat tire late leads them to stumble upon a bizarre castle filled with kooky characters celebrating Transylvania. “Rocky Horror” is traditionally a shadow cast, so the show is acted out in sync with the movie playing in the background.
Known for its cult following and audience participation, “Rocky Horror” brings flocks of students dressed in costumes of fishnet stockings and lingerie. Each performance is complete with a “virgin sacrifice,” those who haven’t seen “Rocky Horror” live, and contests, which includes kissing strangers and gyrating, that aren’t for the faint of heart.
“Seeing ‘Rocky Horror Picture Show’ is something everyone has to do at some point in their life,” senior Karly Spillane said. “It’s an experience unlike any other.”
This semester, QuantUM is producing two musicals with controversial histories – “Rocky Horror Picture Show” and “Spring Awakening,” which follows the lives of 19th century German students as they celebrate youth, self-discovery and coming of age.
Unlike the more lavish productions at the Ring Theatre, every aspect of the QuantUM shows, from directing and acting to lighting and set design, comes from students. This ability to pick their own shows and execute them without outside interference gives QuantUM the freedom to think outside the box.
“We’re unique among schools because we’re our own theater organization that’s completely student-run,” said senior Magdalene Dupree, the QuantUM chair who became involved at the end of her freshman year and is now directing “Rocky Horror.
Unlike some theater organizations, QuantUM caters to those who are not majoring in acting or fine arts. The directors, cast and production crew of each show are usually students who don’t aspire to make a living off the art.
“I love that I get to see shows put on by non-theater majors because this isn’t a job for them,” Spillane said. “They’re doing something they really, truly enjoy, and you can see that coming through on stage.”
Hopeful actors go through up to three rounds of auditions to be cast in QuantUM’s productions for the semester. The first is a general acting audition with improvisation exercises for anyone looking to join UProv, the University of Miami’s improv troupe.
While all students auditioning are encouraged to attend the first round, it is not required in order to audition for the shows. Over the period of a few days, two rounds of auditions are held for all shows occurring that semester. Auditions include dancing and singing as well as reading a monologue. Some students may also be asked to read lines from specific characters in the show.
In order to choose what plays to produce, QuantUM accepts show proposals at the end of each semester from students interested in directing. The QuantUM board interviews each applicant and votes on programs for the year.
“The best part of QuantUM is that we start with an idea or inspiration, and we get to see it come to life after months of hard work,” Dupree said.
Aside from producing shows, QuantUM is also a social organization for anyone looking to learn about different aspects of theater or meet people who share a passion for the arts.
“I’ve met so many people I wouldn’t have otherwise met,” said Lauren Coghlan, who works on set design. “We all come together because we love doing this.”
Applications for spring 2014 show proposals are due Nov. 30.
If you go:
“Rocky Horror Picture Show”
Where: Cosford Cinema
When: Thursday to Saturday
Where: SAC Ballrooms
When: Nov. 14-17
For more information, visit hurricaneproductions.org/quantum or email Magdalene Dupree at firstname.lastname@example.org. All shows are free for UM students.