Shameless! Late night Live Arts goings-on

If you're a late-nighter and you like your theater a little on the audacious side, the weekly Friday evening line-up of performers at "No Shame Theater" may fit the entertainment bill. Todd Ristau, local playwright, director, and professor, transported his Iowa City version of “No Shame Theater”— a performer-generated collection of short, quirky pieces— to Charlottesville nearly two years ago, and the wackiness continues to draw performers and audiences.
“No Shame” got its start in the back of a pickup truck in the mid-1980s in Iowa when Ristau, a student at the University of Iowa at the time, conceived of this low-tech format for performance. It caught on. Companies are now operating in several major cities across the country, with a new troupe in Miami just gearing up for a premiere in January. 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 mike 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.
"No shame was created to provide a place where people interested in working in the theater could 'dare to fail,'" Ristau says. "'No Shame' should never be construed to mean 'No Pride,'" he adds.
So, be shameless. If you’re thinking you might have a little something up your 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 LA.B space. 609 E Market St. $5 at the door. Arrive early if you’re interested in performing. Or just come to enjoy the spectacle. 977-4177 or


Read more on: Live Arts