Eugene Weekly : Theater : 10.29.2009


Elbow Sex 
An exclusive interview with two Transylvanian sex hounds
by Anna Grace

Ending a 15 year-long tradition, Actors Cabaret of Eugene will hang up the spangled G-string after this weekend’s performance of The Rocky Horror Show. In honor of the glorious, glitzy swan song, I managed to nab an interview with two of the characters, asking the questions you’ve always wanted to. Here’s how it went down:

I perch on the edge of the dusty stage in the ACE Annex, surrounded by old costumes and the next show’s props. Before me lounge two men in impossibly high heels and fishnet stockings, eyeing me suspiciously. 

The Transylvanians and Earthers in Rocky Horror

“I can’t imagine what you want to ask,” drawls Frank-n-Furter (phenomenal Michael P Watkins) wearing his signature black bustier and spangley, thongy thingy. Riff-Raff (15-year veteran Gerald Walters) in his super short silver space suit and sparkly silver wig only raises his white eyebrows further past his red rimmed eyes.

On stage, Frank-n-Furter comes off as just another ego-maniacal cross dresser from outer space, but up close, there really is something about him. Intriguing and horrifying, like Ivan the Terrible in a pink teddy, offering you a glass of champagne. Riff-Raff may be less attractive, but he’s still packing his ray gun. I steel my courage. I have valid questions, not to mention the added advantage of being the only one in the room wearing pants.

I begin with a toughie: “Who do you think is hotter, Brad or Janet?”

“Oh, Brad” Frank purrs without so much as a blink. Really? 

“I’ll take Janet,” ripostes Riff-Raff, ever the contrarian. With Riff-Raff on the topic, I take the opportunity to ask, “What, exactly, does elbow sex feel like?”

Riff explains that it is something far more pleasurable than any human can imagine. When I ask if Transylvanians have extra nerve endings or apparatus in their forearms, he informs me that it’s not about nerve endings — it’s all in the technique. I question his relationship with his tongue-flicking, soul-singing sister Magenta. Big mistake on my part.

“What is incest?” he demands, offended.

“We have no concept of incest on our planet,” Frank-N-Furter patiently explains to me.

“No concept of incest?” I kinda feel like this is a concept worth having.

“No” Frank leans back dramatically with a shake of his head, “We do ‘em all.”

I decide to play on the latent fear within Frank-N-Furter’s narcissism. “Has anyone ever been repulsed by you?”

“No. Not that I’m aware of. If they were, I’d kill them.” 

Riff leans forward; although he is nowhere near my ear, I can feel his whisper as he says, “I am. I am repulsed by him.”

“Did you two never … ?”


“He’s just a servant,” Frank-n-Furter says. I change the topic.

“So, Frank. You made a monster.”

“I’ve made several. Rocky was my first success.”


“I made Eddie.” 

“You made Eddie?” 

“Well, not from scratch,” he admits. “But Rocky is my own creation.” Here he sighs, “Then Rocky failed, too”

And suddenly we were at the crux of it all: Frank’s sense of betrayal at Rocky’s tryst with Janet. He really meant to create something special in his relationship with young monster Rocky. It leads me to wonder if there might be more to Frank’s moral philosophy than “Yes.” Studying the two creatures before me, I know full well that I will never again have the opportunity to interview transsexuals from Transylvania. “Do you have any moral philosophy you’d like your audience to leave with?” 

Frank-N-Furter graces me with a smile,

“Don’t dream it, be it. That’s what we’ve always believed in. Pleasure.” Here Riff nods in agreement. Frank continues, “We tried to create a society where all give themselves over to absolute pleasure. We failed.” 

I suppose in a town where many of us consider a double latte “giving ourselves over to pleasure,” Frank-N-Furter’s cause was doomed from the start. We’re just too different. They are from a world that dwells on pleasure, we from one mired in pain.

Have more questions? Ask them yourself. The Rocky Horror Show runs through Oct. 31 at ACE. Tix at or 683-4368.