from The Daily Iowan - Iowa City, Iowa - Thursday, October 10, 1996, pg.1C

No Shame celebrates 10 years

By Rob Merritt

Heartfelt monologues, poetry, songs and groups of grown men dancing with carrots on their heads --welcome to the wild, varied and unpredictable world of No Shame Theatre, a collaboration of miscellaneous UI talent.

Now, UI students will be able to see revisit some of No Shame's greatest pieces with "The Best of the Best of No Shame Theatre," a 20-piece showcase of some of the best moments in this offbeat performance's life.

Known recently for having everything from "The Stalker's Little Instruction Book" to "Nine Inch Disney"(imagine Trent Reznor taking on "It's a Small World After All"), No Shame has been a source of entertainment and experience for its late-night audiences and performers for the past 10 years.

"It's cheap, raw and unpredictable -- and sometimes it's twisted," said UI senior Megan Gogerty, No Shame Board chairperson who has been performing at No Shame since her freshman year. "This is no 'Les Misérables.' This is garage theater. Every night is a gamble."

The No Shame experience begins Fridays at 10:30 p.m., when performers submit their scripts to board members. The first 15 scripts to be turned in make up the show's line-up.

"There's no quality control," said Rob Frisch, a No Shame Board member who has been performing for the past two years. "Whatever we get for that evening, that's what we get. We don't censor anything."

Due to No Shame's no-censor policy, there have been some outlandish performances, including a man walking onto the stage naked and performing a monologue, Frisch said.

"We get a lot of crazy stuff," he said.

In choosing the pieces that would be performed for "The Best of Best of No Shame," Gogerty said just going through the old scripts wasn't enough.

"If you've ever been to No Shame, you know that the original script doesn't really reflect what the actual piece is like," Gogerty said. "It has to do with the way it's presented. We got in touch with people through the Internet and asked what pieces they remembered."

No Shame Theatre was founded by UI alumnus Todd Ristau in 1986. The rules were simple: The piece had to be original, under five minutes and typed with name and phone number, and could "not damage the stage or the audience."

The first No Shame was performed on Oct. 6, 1986, in the parking lot of the UI Theatre Building. The back of a truck was used for the stage and a motorcycle headlight as lighting.

Although No Shame has moved into the more sophisticated (and considerably warmer) Theatre B of the UI Theatre Building since its beginning, the rules have stayed the same.

"It's important for No Shame to be as relaxed as possible," Frisch said. "We want writers and performers to have as much freedom of expression as possible."

Commemorating the UI Department of Theatre Arts' 75th anniversary and 10 years of No Shame Theatre, UI graduates from as far as Los Angeles and Chicago will perform at "The Best of the Best of No Shame Theatre."

"I credit No Shame as being one of my greatest teachers in playwriting ever -- and I think a lot of other people feel that way too, if they're willing to come all the way back to Iowa City to do a little five-minute scene they performed five or 10 years ago," Gogerty said. "We even have people flying in who aren't in the show, but who just want to see it. So we'll have a pretty good crowd of out-of-towners."

"The Best of the Best of No Shame Theatre" will be performed Friday in the E.C. Mabie Theatre of the UI Theatre Building at 11 p.m. Tickets for the performance are $3 and will go on sale at 10 p.m. Friday in the lobby of the UI Theatre Building.

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