[ON STAGE]Doing the time warp - again

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[ON STAGE]Doing the time warp - again

Back in 1973 in Korea, women who dared to go out in miniskirts were dragged to police stations and charged with indecency. Over in London at the same time, the bawdy and bizarre musical the "Rocky Horror Show," directed by Richard O'Brien, debuted on stage and a cult classic was born.

The 1975 movie adaptation of the play became a cultural icon not only in Britain but all over the world, begetting armies of Rocky Horror acolytes loaded with food and props to fling after being prompted by certain bits of dialogue. Always resistant to mainstream culture, the play is now being staged in Korea, and once again is challenging notions of what is normal.

Fittingly, the musical is staged in Daehangno, one of the centers of Korea's various strains of subculture. The main actors of the show are the comedian Hong Rok-gi and the stage actor Park Hee-sun, who on separate nights play the Frank-N-Furter character immortalized in the film by Tim Curry. The show kicked off a long run at the Polymedia Theater last Saturday.

The storyline of "Rocky Horror" is of secondary importance to the songs and dances. A recently engaged couple, Brad and Janet, break down on the highway. Seeking help, they follow a light leading to the castle of Frank-N-Furter, a transvestite from the planet Transsexual in the galaxy Transylvania. The youngsters are introduced to Frank's creation, a blond beefcake named Rocky Horror, the butler Riff Raff, and plenty of other gender benders. The kinky journey of the ostentatiously naive couple begins.

At the entrance of the theater, guests are given audience participation bags containing props such as confetti and party poppers to throw and set off at appropriate times. By the first 10 minutes, everyone in the audience is quite aware that this is no "Phantom of the Opera."

Though the play is entertaining, the audience didn't always seem comfortable with the subject matter and the proddings to participate in the action, which is crucial for the play to effect its charm. Nevertheless, the acting is solid throughout, and the sight of so many fishnet-stockinged Korean men dancing provocatively is not something you see every day on the peninsula.

The schedule for "Rocky Horror" is rather irregular. For dates, showtimes and other information, call 02-516-1501.

by Park Soo-mee

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