April 9, 2019

Backstage at the Egyptian: Ginger Simons of Irrational Masters

Interview with Ginger Simons from the Irrational Masters

Conducted by Michaela Alcantar

Michaela: How did you get involved with Irrational Masters?

Ginger: I joined cast two summers ago, right as I was transferring to NIU. Community college was a bit isolating for me, and I was itching to be a part of some sort of group in the DeKalb area and make some friends. I’ve been a fan of Rocky Horror since I was a kid (yikes), and when I found the Irrational Masters, I just knew I had to be a part of it.  

Michaela: What do you enjoy most about being with Irrational Masters and shadow casting?

Ginger: I did theatre all throughout high school, but was never really the “acting” type. I enjoy shadow casting because it has all of the bells and whistles of live theatrical performance, but it’s also a more casual and spontaneous environment. At the end of the day, it’s just a bunch of people in a room (performers and audience members alike) having fun and letting loose. Everyone gets to be a part of the show. 

Michaela: What is it like to be part of this multi-generational phenomenon show?

Ginger: There’s so much history to Rocky, and what’s really fascinating is how this weird movie from the 70s spawned a huge cult following that’s still going strong today. There are active Rocky shadow casts all over the country, and while there are differences to the way each cast does the show, there’s so much to what we all do that’s been around forever. Sometimes we get older folks who come up to us after a performance and tell us they’ve been going to Rocky shows for decades, and that so many of the callbacks and bits are the same as they remember from back in the day. The spirit is still very much alive, and there’s a huge sense of community that accompanies it. 

Michaela: What is your favorite part in The Rocky Horror Picture Show?

Ginger: This is a hard question, because it totally depends on what role I’m playing and if we’re talking about the show or the movie itself. The Floorshow is definitely a cool, “picturesque” Rocky moment, but so many of the songs are just straight up fun, both to perform and to listen to. I’ve always been a fan of “Hot Patootie”. I’ve never played Eddie, but man, is that scene fun to watch. 

Michaela: How would you describe The Rocky Horror Picture Show shadow cast performance to someone that has never seen it?

Ginger: It’s probably not like anything you’ve seen before. Even if you’ve seen the movie, the live show is a completely different animal. In a very clinical sense, it’s like a mix between watching a movie and a play, but that doesn’t quite do it justice. Audience interaction is a huge part of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, so you’re going to have people around you yelling things and actors interacting with you throughout. Expect to be pushed a little bit out of your comfort zone, and then never want to leave.