I dash through the theatre, only hobbling a little. My bright pink cane reflects the stage lights in a dizzy blur. I’m screaming obscenities, things so vulgar I’d never say them aloud usually. A drunk audience member lurches into my path and nearly tips his drink on me. I roll my eyes.
I push past him and arrive at the back of the auditorium. I climb on to my padded stool — physical disability perks — and train my spotlight on my wife. Their blinding gold bikini sparkles under my spotlight.
The show begins.
The Clinton Street Theatre’s Rocky Horror Picture Show shadowcast cabaret has finally begun again. For a few sweet weeks, it looked as if things were getting back to normal. Our cast is fully vaccinated. Our venue had bettered their ventilation by leaps and bounds. Audience members were kept at a distance.
Even though I was stuck running lights due to my increasing pain levels and loss of mobility, I was so happy. How beautiful it was to see my beloved show again. I watched my wife pump weights and be seduced by a manic cross-dresser. I watched my partner rev a fake motorcycle and fling my other partner into the air, so high his heels nearly touched the ceiling. I watched my friends engage in stage combat, fake seduction, sci-fi murder, and even a little canbalism. I kept them lit and hollered callbacks until I couldn’t scream any more.
(As a brief sidebar, we had a show last Saturday, and my voice is still a raspy wreck.)
It was bliss.
But then, as always seems to be the case, we had another setback with COVID. Masks are now required in the theatre again. There will be no close contact with audience members. We have to distance ourselves on stage.
And my heart is broken, but we’re foraging on. The Clinton Street Theatre has played Rocky Horror every Saturday for more than forty years. In blizzards, to an empty auditorium, and even over COVID, the movie has played. Our record is not broken yet! We are troopers.
After all, as Dr. Frank-N-Furter says, “Don’t dream it. Be it.”