copyright © 2002 Clinton A. Johnston

Porno for Dada


Clinton A. Johnston

No Shame Theater 7/12/02



Preparation Beforehand


1.      Get 1 copy of Penthouse Forum.

2.      Photocopy a letter page and enlarge it as much as possible so the words are nice and big.

3.      Cut up some part of the letter by word so you have a pile of words from the letter.

4.      Put the letter's words in a cup, or better yet a hat.

5.      Go out onstage with copy of Penthouse Forum and word cuts (and maybe a table, stool, or some type of stand to put them on.  Don't let the audience see that you've got a copy of Penthouse Forum.



[This piece was originally done without

a pre-written script.  What follows is an

approximation of what was said in the

original performance.]


[Bright, upbeat, a little excited]


Hi.  How's it going?


I don't know how much you guys already know this, but to do a No Shame (at least the way we do No Shame), it takes about four people to run - one to handle the door, one to do concessions, one to stage manage, and one to run lights and sound.  Now, usually those positions are handled by Jane, Joan, me, and Ursula respectively - Jane does the door, Joan does concessions, I stage manage, and Ursula is on lights and sound.  Now, you may ask, "What the Hell does Todd do?"


Well, Todd has a very important role, at least it's very important for me.  Todd is (he has a title) Todd is the Executive Producer of No Shame Charlottesville.  What this means (very important role for me) What this means is that if anyone asks me any substantive question about No Shame or if anyone needs a decision to be made, I get to say, (shrug shoulders, slur voice slightly) "I dunno'.  Ask Todd."


As you may have noticed, Todd, Joan, and Ursula aren't here.  They're next door running The Biology Lesson and Other Experiments, which you should see.  Now, we do this stuff, we do No Shame, week after week with an understanding that we will be there the next week, but with no real promise.  So, we are (one) very grateful for the time we all give to No Shame, and (two) we live in deadly fear that one of us will get a life and we won't be able to fill their role.


Consequently, we've developed all these passive aggressive ways to keep the others of us from skipping out too much.  Like, for instance, I know, I know that on the times when I cannot stage manage, no matter how the night goes, Todd tells everyone to tell me that things just fall apart when I'm not here.  I know he does this.  He's not Jewish.  He's not Catholic.  But he plays the guilt card like no body's business.


Now, I can't do that, because that's his thing, and I've got to do my own thing.  So, I've decided that my little passive aggressive thing is going to be through my pieces.  I've decided to subject you to the most disgusting, grossest pieces I can come up with, pieces so sick that you will rush to Todd, Joan and Ursula and say, "You can't leave!  You can't leave!  Every time you leave, Clinton comes out with these whacked pieces.  You can't go!"  Okay?  Okay?


Right.  So, in thinking what I could do that would be really disturbing, the first thing I thought of ... I said no to, because that would just be too disturbing.  The second thing I thought of - of course you've gone there already ... experimenting with Dadaism.


Now, for those of you who don't know, Dadaism was an artistic and intellectual

movement in the beginning of the 20th Century that was so out there, so rarified, so abstruse that it lasted about 15 minutes.  Okay?  Menudo has lasted longer than Dadasim did.  First off, you can't even pronounce it, "Dadaism".  You can't have a movement if no one can pronounce its name.  And what the Dadaist did - they said lots of things - But one of the things the Dadaist said was that form, structure, style, it was all crap, all bullshit classicist crap, and "we could take a Shakespeare sonnet, cut it up, pull out the individual words from a hat and read them, and it would be just as valid as the original poem."  And they would do this in coffee houses in Prague where people would drink high-test coffee and go like this.  (Give snooty golf clap.)


Okay.  Right.  So, in thinking about how to experiment with Dada, what occurred to me was probably what is occurring to you right now.  What would Dadaist pornography be like?  Right?  Alright.


[Pull out Penthouse Forum.]

So, this is Penthouse Forum, and I have photocopied a letter from here, cut it up, put the words in this cup, and I'm going to pull them out and read them one by one, and we'll see what kind of pornography we get from this.  Are you up for it?  [Audience says, "Yeah!" you hope.]  You wanna' try some Dadaist pornography?  You ready to be shocked?  [Audience approval, you pray.]  Okay, here we go!


[Pull out words from hat and read them one by one.  Really punch any naughty words.  Make sound as dirty as possible.  Let it come to a climax.  (Pun intended.)]


Okay, that's it.  Thank you very much.



"Porno for Dada" debuted July 12, 2002, performed by Clinton Johnston.

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