It’s time to let your freak flag fly! After over a year of being closed, the iconic Portland Clinton Theatre was able to open its doors back to the public, bringing the Saturday night showings of the 1975 cult classic, Rocky Horror Picture Show, to the screen once again. A showtime that is known around the world for having a shadowcast and large amounts of audience participation, has become a staple at the Clinton.
The Clackamas Print was given the opportunity to not only check out how the show is currently running under current Oregon COVID-19 restrictions, but also had the chance to sit down with Nathan Williams, the emcee for the weekly show for the last 6 years, and find out a little bit more about the history of the Clinton Theater and Rocky.
Running for more than 40 years, Williams shared a small piece of history. “The Clinton Street cabaret formed in the early 80’s, dedicated to a group of fans who wanted to do this and wanted to make sure that it was something that can be done in perpetuity,” said WIlliams. “The cabaret as an organization, it’s pretty iconic”.
Traditionally, the show is performed with a local cabaret that dresses as the characters and performs alongside the movie, encouraging audience members to participate in parts such as the Time Warp dance. Prior to the start of the show, Williams performs what is known as a “virgin sacrifice” for those who haven’t been to a show. Both of these activities have been modified, requiring both to be done from the participants seat, socially distant from non group members.
When asked about recent potential guideline changes, Nathan said, ”Hopefully it’ll change it back to the way it was. We had a good thing going for over 40 years and we’d like to get back to it and keep this wonderful establishment here for the people who need it.” Which brings hope that the staff at the Clinton will do everything they can to bring the fun and excitement back to the community.
For the time being, the showings are limited to a small capacity, with ticket purchases online in advance. Instead of the midnight showtime, they currently have to start the movie at 9 p.m. for it to end by 11 p.m. to comply with establishment curfews. Snacks and beverages are available for purchase, including a local selection of beer and cider. They also have prop bags for purchase as well, as props are used throughout the movie.
Even if you have never been, we can’t begin to explain how great of an experience it is for all. Emcee Nathan ended our interview with these final words: “Rocky’s a home for anybody who needs it. And it’s my goal to always have this here, for those who need it forever. I will, and as long as I can be, will be here to welcome anybody who needs a place to be themselves.”