Friday, 31 January 2014

5 Similarities between The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Shakespeare

Greetings again my readers! I know you all must be thinking that this title is some sort of gibberish, and that I've finally lost it completely. But no, believe it or not my vague sanity (vague being the operative word) is still intact. I in fact have managed to whip out some of my super cool analysis skills and find some similarities between these two admittedly polar opposites.

Number One: Prologue

I'm assuming you're all familiar with 'Romeo and Juliet', whether it be the original play or one of the two movie remakes. If you're not, well first of all, what is wrong with you? And second of all, do me a favour and go read the prologue. In this little introduction, the entire plot of the play is basically revealed. But how does this relate to 'The Rocky Horror Picture Show'? Well I'm so glad you asked. Remember that little song at the beginning called 'Science Fiction Double Feature'? If you actually listen to the lyrics, it basically outlines the main plot points of the movie. Sure, at first it just kinda sounds like a bunch of nonsense (which admittedly, most of it is), but when you think about it, it all starts to make a bit of sense. 'Dr X will build the creature', 'See Androids fighting', this pretty much just gives away the whole movie. 

Number Two: Character Parallels 

Did you ever think that you would be comparing Dr Frank N Furter to Prospero from Shakespeare's 'The Tempest'? My guess is probably not. Well today's your lucky day, because things are about to get cray. To kick things off, both of these previously mentioned guys are pretty controlling to put it nicely. They're both the mastermind behind grand plans, manipulating all of the people who surround them to get what they want, and that's just the beginning. They both have their untamed creatures (Caliban and Rocky), who they are in total control of (for the most part at least). They also both have this complex about going home throughout the entire story, both of them having to relinquish their power by doing so (maybe in Frank N Furter's case it's not so much relinquish, and more like having it taken from him forcefully, but whatever, same thing). Plus, they both belt out some pretty cool musical numbers. Prospero gets his little performance in the form of 'The Masque of the Goddesses', and of course Frank N Furter gets his rather extravagant floor show.

Number Three: Themes

Despite the vague subheading, I'm not just going to grasp at straws to find something worthwhile for this one. There are in fact some legitimate themes prevalent in both Rocky Horror and Shakespeare. First off, there's the whole Shakespearean theme of a young couple (Brad and Janet) going off into the woods before things get cray, and the line between sanity and madness starts to blur as the two characters begin to morph and change, a la 'A Midsummer Night's Dream', 'As You Like It' and 'Twelfth Night'. There are also a bunch of other themes that you'll find scattered throughout Shakespearean comedies such as deflated arrogance, twist endings and the concept of servants becoming masters.

Number Four: Improbable Plot

It's no secret that 'The Rocky Horror Show' is one super duper weird piece of work. Living inside the mind of the writer and director (who also happens to play Riff Raff in the movie) would surely mess a person up for life. So yeah, it's no surprise that the extravagant, majorly insane plot also happens to be totally improbable. It also appears to be the case that the majority of Shakespearean comedies (and TBH, tragedies too most of the time) often follow this nonsensical, ridiculously unrealistic route. In fact, there are even a couple of specific similarities between these utterly cray storylines. In Shakespeare's little, totally obscure tale 'A Midsummer Night's Dream', a drug is dripped by Puck onto the eyelids of four lovers at Oberon's request, which certainly draws some parallels to the LSD spray Frank N Furter gets Riff Raff to spray on everyone in the lab. Coincidence? I think not.

Number Five: Cross-Dressing

Let's face it, this one is pretty obvious. As soon as you read the title of this blog post, I'm sure cross-dressing was the first thing that sprung to mind. That's probably because it's super true. I don't think I really have to explain the cross-dressing element in Rocky Horror, it's all pretty self explanatory. However, there is a long history of cross-dressing in the theatre which the majority of you probably already know. No women were allowed, so men had to frock up channel their inner castrato. Specifically, when Shakespeare's 'As You Like It' and 'Twelfth Night' were first performed, not only were male actors parading around as women, they were pretending to be women who were pretending to be men. If that doesn't scream 'Rocky Horror' then I don't know what does.

And that's the end of my weird, random post. I hope you found it somewhat interesting and entertaining, and that I haven't blown your mind too much. That's all for now. Til' next time . . .

Annabel xx

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