from Ledger-Enquirer - Thursday, July 23, 2009

Springer Opera House begins new theater for creative folks

Paul Pierce’s mind never stops. He’s always thinking of ways to get people into the Springer Opera House. Of course, as producing artistic director, it’s his job to do that, as it is for the top people at every arts organization in town.

When Jens Rasmussen told him about the No Shame Theater concept, Paul thought it was a great idea. Not only to get people in the seats, but to get people on stage.

Jens has become a favorite on the Springer stage and off it. Before he even began acting at the Springer, he was teaching in the Springer Theater Academy. Once he hit the stage, people couldn’t get enough of this talented man.

He recently married Kimberly Hickman, who has also been seen regularly at the Springer the past few seasons, and is coordinating the theater’s Springer on Tour program.

Paul joked that he wanted to keep Kimberly in town, so he had to find something for Jens to do.

Jens is the director of Columbus’ No Shame Theater.

It’s an easy concept. It happens every Friday at 10 p.m., starting Sept. 25.

At exactly 10 p.m., you sign up to do something — sing, dance, tell jokes, do a monologue, whatever.

There are three rules: Everything you do must be original. You have five minutes, no more. You cannot break any laws.

“Or yourself or the theater,” Paul said.

Only 15 people will be allowed on stage on any given Friday. So it would be good to show up and get in line earlier than 10 p.m. if you want your chance to get on stage.

There’s a rumor that a local dancer wants to do a burlesque act for her five-minute time slot.

When I said her name, Paul looked at me and said, “Has she talked to you about it?”

No, but from another venture she mentioned a couple of years ago, she would be my first guess. And I was correct!

There’s one other rule: You have to be 18 or older to get in.

A cash bar will be available in the Springer Saloon.

I’m thinking that’s going to be way too small, because I think it will be an alternative for people who want to go out but don’t want to go to a bar on a Friday night.

Paul’s hoping someone like my colleague Tim Chitwood would do some social commentary on current events. Tim would be great! He’s got this wry sense of humor and a wonderful way of writing. Paul really wants writers involved.

Playwrights would be able to come in with a scene and ask if anyone would like to read the scene. That’s if the playwright’s not an actor, of course.

Jens went to see the Chattahoochee Shakespeare Co.’s production of “Goobers!” and was so impressed with Alyssa Farmer’s songs that he’s hoping she’ll do five minutes of her original songs.

And the No Shame part comes in because with an audience of actors, you’ll find nothing but encouragement.

I know because I’ve done shows and I know I can’t sing, dance or act, but everyone made me feel welcome.

So for $5, it’s a lot cheaper than going to a movie. You’re going to have fun, too.

Contact Sandra Okamoto at 706-571-8580 or

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