For the first time since the fall of 2002, Lost Flamingo Theatre Company, or LFC, won’t be doing the “Time Warp” for audiences.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, LFC was forced to postpone its annual production of The Rocky Horror Picture Show until further notice.
“We didn’t want to perform it during Fall Semester because it felt generally unsafe with COVID,” Marrin Eighinger, a senior studying restaurant, hotel and tourism and the president of LFC, said. “The show itself requires the cast members to interact very closely with each other. There’s a lot of touching, and there’s a lot of physical contact, so it didn’t feel appropriate to be trying to do a show like that with COVID.”
Every year, LFC hosts the show at The Union, 18 West Union St. There isn’t any seating — rather, a packed house of fans filling the venue from the edge of the stage to the back of the room. Aside from the safety of the actors and crew involved in the show, there was no method for LFC to safely carry out this year’s production.
But LFC didn’t want to postpone altogether, so it explored virtual streaming and other avenues to execute the performance. However, there were too many opportunities for technical difficulties for the show to proceed virtually.
“When I heard that it wasn’t going to happen, I was pretty bummed,” Olivia Wallace, a junior studying integrated social studies, said. “I went to it my freshman year. I stage-managed it last year. It was just a really big part of my Fall Semester. Obviously, safety is our top priority ... But I was pretty disappointed that we could do it.”
Wallace was set to assistant direct Rocky Horror this year. She’s been working closely with Eighinger and the rest of the executive board to create a game plan, but mostly, the group’s plans depend on what happens with the pandemic.
“We have to play it by ear,” Wallace said. “I have no idea how it’s going to work out.”
The group has tried to keep the Rocky Horror spirit alive not only within their company, but with their fans as well. On Oct. 30, aka National Rocky Horror Picture Show Day, LFC took to Instagram to show Rocky Horror some love.
The Instagram post had a collage of pictures from the cast and quotes from company members as well as fun facts about LFC’s production of the show.
“A lot of people are very sad that Rocky’s been postponed, within the company and within the community,” Eighinger said. “I’m disappointed and a little sad that this is how it’s turning out for my senior year and the senior year of so many of my friends that we met freshman year and have been in LFC together our whole college career.”
But Eighinger and the rest of LFC aren’t letting the group die out this year. LFC has been posting on its social media accounts, hosting general body meetings and working together to decide on future shows.
Emily Cigan, a junior studying sociology-criminology and the technical director for LFC, started a fundraiser for LFC in lieu of Rocky Horror’s revenue. Over the summer, Cigan started her own small art business and created a website for it.
When she realized that LFC wouldn’t be able to do any in-person fundraising or shows, she decided to create merchandise for LFC and donate the proceeds directly to the company.
“I feel like we’ve been having an issue with company engagement lately because we can’t be in person,” Cigan said. “So I thought a good way to get everyone involved again and get us a fundraising opportunity — that me selling art would be a pretty easy way to do that, and I’m willing to help.”
For now, LFC meets virtually and encourages people to support Cigan’s merchandise fundraiser until it has the means to do more. Eighinger is glad LFC can continue its connection, even if it is virtually.
“We just want everyone to feel connected with each other and with the actual company,” Eighinger said. “I know it’s where I’ve made my closest friends, and I know it’s where a lot of people have made their close friends.”