Ain't that a shame? Late night at Live Arts

Forget Dave Letterman and Jay Leno and their bevy of curvy actresses and likeable musical sidekicks. You can now opt for a more novel version of late-night entertainment if you’re shameless enough. Local actor/director/playwright Todd Ristau transports his Iowa City version of “No Shame Theater”— a performer-generated collection of short, quirky pieces— to Charlottesville, and you can join the wackiness every Friday at 11pm at the LAB Space at Live Arts.
“No Shame” got its start in the back of a pickup truck more than 15 years ago in Iowa when Ristau, then a graduate student, conceived of this low-risk format for performance. The idea is pretty simple: anyone can create a three to five-minute performance and then sign up to present the piece to the audience— sort of an open mic for actors.
On any given Friday night, you might get a poem about stealing eyeballs in the rain, a dance piece about global warming, a puppet show about violence in the schools, or a moving drama illustrating some important truth, only to be followed by a delightful ditty on a hand saw. During one week’s session, an actor sat still for his three minutes and then delivered one line: “Are the bags ready yet?”
“That was a big risk that the audience enjoyed, me included,” says Clinton Johnston, a No-Shame convert. “I haven’t quite figured out how he made it work, but I’m damn impressed.” If slightly “off-center” describes your dramatic interests, and you think of yourself as a late-nighter, you’ll no doubt enjoy the wackiness of a No Shame-style evening.
 Or... if you’re thinking you might have a little something up your own sleeve that you could pull out for an audience, here’s your chance. Just show up at 10:30pm and get your name on the list. The first 15 people get the performance slots. As for rules, you can’t break any laws or endanger yourself, other performers, or the audience. “Other than that, it’s mostly good sense and fire codes,” Ristau jokes.

No Shame Theater continues every Friday evening at 11pm at the Live Arts LAB Space. 609 E. Market St. Arrive early if you’re interested in performing. Or just come to enjoy the spectacle. $5 at the door. 977-4177.

Read more on: Live Arts