By Mikayla Silcox
Radio Repo, Washington College’s newest independent performance group, officially began rehearsals for their shadowcast of “Repo! The Genetic Opera.”
The event will feature actors performing scenes from Darren Lynn Bousman’s 2008 horror musical of the same name. Through the production, the group hopes to bring recognition to the film, which, according to Polygon, is a cult classic.
Last year, sophomore Jenna Walton, who is directing this semester’s production, hosted film screenings to gauge student interest in the film, as well as spread knowledge about its existence. It was during these showings that current cast members learned to appreciate the film.
“Including myself, many of the other cast members were introduced to Repo recently through a movie night hosted by Jenna in order to get people interested in the movie and in the shadow cast,” co-director senior Emily Bechtel said.
Thanks to Walton’s screenings, Bechtel learned what “Repo! The Genetic Opera” was. Now, they are excited to take on the role Amber Sweet while they codirect alongside Walton.
Since they first joined the “Repo!” fandom, Walton wanted to produce a shadow cast of the original film.
“Radio Repo is the culmination of a big dream I’ve had since I first joined the ‘Repo!’ fandom at age 13. I have been extremely dedicated to this movie ever since I’ve discovered it — I’ve seen it countless times [and] have met several people involved with the production,” Walton said.
Walton introduced WC cast members to the practice of shadowcasting — performing the dialogue and actions of a film while it plays, as popularized by “Rocky Horror Picture Show —with the aim to revitalize the shadowcast scene.
Radio Repo tried to host their event last year, but the organization had issues getting a full cast, as well as obtaining a sufficient budget for production.
“For a production like ‘Repo!,’ all of the characters interact with each other frequently, so having an actor for each role is crucial, and it is near impossible to double-cast like in other productions,” Walton said.
Radio Repo worked over the summer to gain enough funding through an Indiegogo fundraising campaign, as their status as an independent, unregistered group meant that they could not receive funding from the school.
Additionally, Radio Repo utilized tactics like networking and campus-wide events, like Club Fair, to fill out their eight-person cast.
Sophomore Ryan Spartin, who plays Luigi Largo, is excited to be a part of this semester’s production.
“I wanted to join Radio Repo as I had friends who were in it, and I was very interested in the musical,” Spartin said.
The performance date is Dec. 2 at 6:30 p.m. in Tawes Theatre. Until then, the group is rehearsing once a week on Fridays at 6 p.m. in Tawes, for those interested in joining.
Photo courtesy of Mikayla Silcox
Photo caption: The unregistered performance group Radio Repo meets every Friday in Tawes Theatre for rehearsals.