from Iowa City Press-Citizen - Iowa City, Iowa - Saturday, September 27, 2003

Saturday, September 27, 2003

Celebrating No Shame

UI theater turns 17

By Deanna Truman-Cook
Iowa City Press-Citizen

Some of the best performers of No Shame Theatre are returning Friday night to Iowa City.

No Shame Theatre's Boylyssa in Surf Ninjas.
Special to the Press-Citizen

They are traveling from as far away as Los Angeles and Charlottesville, Va., to perform at No Shame's 17th birthday celebration at 8 p.m. in the University of Iowa's Theatre Department parking lot.

They will perform the same place the theater began - in the back of a pickup truck.

In total, 25 artists will perform at the free celebration.

After the birthday bash, a regular Friday night No Shame performance of UI students and area high school students and residents will begin at 11 p.m. in Theatre B. As always, the first 15 people with scripts will perform. Cost is $1.

Paul Rust, 22, a UI senior and a board member of No Shame, said the night is sure to be filled with unbelievable, energy-filled acts.

"The wide variety is the best part," he said. "It will be really interesting.

"You will have people who are performing No Shame now, people new to No Shame, high school students 16 and 17 years old, and No Shame veterans who were performing No Shame before they were born."

If you go
What: 17th birthday celebration of No Shame Theatre.
When: 8 p.m. Friday at the University of Iowa’s Theatre Department parking lot.
How much: Free. The regular No Shame Theatre performance that begins at 11 p.m. is $1.
Information: Call 353-0075 or log onto

There are only three rules of No Shame Theatre - pieces must be five minutes or less, they must be original and they can't break anything - not laws, not the audience, not performers and not the theatre, said Todd Ristau, one of the founders, who kicks off the birthday celebration with a piece he wrote while attending UI in 1986 titled "Chicken Sunday."

Ristau now resides in Virginia and is an assistant professor of theater at Mary Baldwin College.

The idea behind No Shame is to get people performing, he said in a statement.

"The exciting thing about No Shame is that the mission is to provide a vehicle for emerging writers and performers to work side by side with grizzled veterans regardless of experience," the statement said. "A place where failure won't be so dangerous a prospect that no one tries to succeed."

Performers have brought everything on stage from poetry to juggling to puppetry, Rust said.

"No Shame can be anything," he said. "It is just an opportunity, a forum to introduce work

and to see how it plays with an audience.

"Probably the best education I have had has been at No Shame."

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