An Evening with Richard O'Brien - Part 1 of 5 - Captioned

Uploaded by Fionakiwi on 27.06.2010


For everyone here, I mean,
Rocky Horror, How did it,
I mean were did it come from
Well I was an out of work actor, I'd been fired from Jesus Christ Superstar
Can't think why...
and I went home and I kind of wrote it in spite in a way
I felt that maybe I was deluding myself, that I didn’t have a future in the theatre
and that perhaps I was like a lot of other people, going to be waiting for the phone to ring
and I was asked to do a 15 – 20 minute piece for the work people
at EMI studios for their Christmas party
so I wrote a song called Science Fiction Double Feature
which was about the movies that I liked
enjoyed, and I wrote some jokes and I went out
and told the jokes and got them laughing and sang the song
and I used that as a kind of test for myself if I could work
the fifteen minutes, the twenty minutes
and entertain
I’d rethink my journey, otherwise I was going to pack up and come back to New Zealand
and get a proper job
but it worked and I used the song
as the prologue to writing the musical
and that's the way it went
I went and got a job at the Royal court theatre in a Sam Shepard play
and the director was a man called Jim Sharman
and I told him what I was doing and what I was writing and I thought he might enjoy it and he came
back to my apartment one evening
and brought a young man named Richard Hartley with him
and I sang the songs and I told some of how the dialogue went, and how the narrative went
went and the journey went
and he went away and phoned me about a week later and said
the Royal Court Theatre wants me to do another play
a David Williamson play, an Australian playwright
to play down in the main house
and I said I will, but I’ll only do it if I can have 3 weeks fun upstairs first,
so I want another two songs by the end of the week, and another 20 pages of dialogue
and that was how it went.
and in the June
we were on and up and running, and it was a
it was a hit before it opened in a way, cause I remember when we were rehearsing upstairs
and there were people singing songs around the piano, and someone would be learning their song,
and I’d walk downstairs through the Royal Court and people were beaming with smiles,
there was such generosity of spirit, everyone felt good about it,
everyone knew they were having a bit of fun
and that kind of enjoyment permeated its way through.
Word of mouth was better than any of the press, we got great reviews, but word of mouth
was astonishing,
and we were packed out, we played for another 2 weeks there, and we played in London
for seven years
after that and here we are 35 years later and we’re still running.
But to start with it was going to be 3 weeks you thought that’s was all that was going to happen
Yep, that was it. All over.
a bit of fringe theatre event. I wouldn’t have thought many people would have enjoyed it.
What was very strange about Rocky Horror was that it tapped a nerve in all of us.
There is a narcissistic, exhibitionist streak in all of us, you may not wish to confront this in yourselves,
but it’s there,
and what it did, as soon as Tim Curry got up and went
“I’m just a sweet transvestite”, Boof! Like that,
with no embarrassment and no shame
everyone went “Well, Hello!”
and the guys sitting next to the girls went “Hello!”
see what you mean
and there was something that was so out there
and unapologetic that was liberating. It was wonderful to stand at the side of the theatre
and watch the audience being surprised at themselves
for enjoying this, that was a very strange thing.
Cause there are people who spend their lives
absorbed in Rocky Horror Picture Show
Absorbed in it.
It works on so many levels doesn’t it. It works as a trashy fun camp piece of theater,
but like all fairy tales, we don’t know why fairy tales are told over and over again,
Why they’ve had the longevity that they have,
but each generation tells the same fairy tales to their children,
and invested in them are Jungian kinds of themes,
there are dark little moments, some of the birds are symbolic,
and inside the storyline there is a moral tale to be told,
grandparents have told the tale, parents are told the tale, people about to become parents
will the same stories to their children
and though we accept them on surface level, subliminally
there is a darker tale in there,
and I think Rocky works a little on that, Babes in the Wood is a retelling of the fall,
the Babes in the Wood are Brad and Janet and the serpent is the wicked witch
in the cottage, in the gingerbread cottage,
it’s a similar kind of tale.
Was the reason for having the serpent
as a transvestite to be as a contrast
to Brad and Janet?
I think it was a little bit something to do with how I’ve been
cursed or blessed by nature,
I came out of the womb that way, I am transgendered.
I wouldn't wish it on anybody, it's a difficult journey
but it happens in the womb, if we want empirical proof
of how things go wrong in the womb between the genders we have to see an hermaphrodite,
that happens,
that’s not a happy incident for the parents or the child,
sometimes the decision to decide whether the child is to be a girl or a boy is made to early,
and we have an upset psychological problem when the child hits puberty,
there are many more subtle variations that happen I think, in the womb,
and I knew at age 6 that I should have been a girl,
and I said to my older brother I wanted to be the fairy princess when I grew up
and look at me now, I’m a full blown queen
[ laughter ]
[ applause ]
And I knew immediately I’d said the wrong thing and the shutters come down
and you live inside your head and that’s the secret that you will never show anyone
there’s gonna be no chink in the armor
and that way madness ensues, you’re never allowed to actually grow up,
you grow up as kind of an idea for every body,
and you’re not really yourself, and there has to be a payoff sooner or later,
and I went over the edge of the abyss a few years ago
and then I suddenly said "Oh Stuff it, I am what I am by default
and in a few years time I’m gonna be 70
I may as well just live my life and be happy and just be content
and be a nicer person as a result."
Why wait that long?
Because society is so misogynistic, isn’t it.
I call this my lesbian stage managers look, [ applause ]
but if I was a girl and I had short cropped hair and I was wearing a t-shirt and jeans and sneakers
no body would say anything, they wouldn’t say “did you walk around town like that? Really?”
But if I put a frock on people do say "did you walk around town like that"
but it’s silly but it’s misogynism isn’t it, if you go towards the male
you’ve got all these things that you could call, like 'forceful',
to be female is to be weak and stupid isn’t it,
that’s what we say, that’s the negative end.
Misogynism I don’t understand it, we were talking about it earlier on,
it demeans our mothers, it demeans our sisters and wives and our daughters
and I really don’t understand why the most,
the only sentient species on our planet, and maybe the only sentient species
in the entire universe, possibly,
should see that 50% of the sentient species is less viable
than the other 50% and I really don’t understand it,
I don’t get it, I’ve lost the plot