Every Friday night, Columbus's newest hotspot attracts dozens of performing artists - from comics, poets and dancers to actors, singers and musicians. Whether your gift is sleight of hand or turn of phrase, you too can take the stage at No Shame Theater, a venue of the Springer Opera House for emerging artists and everyday creative minds. Think open mic night meets underground arts movement.

The No Shame concept began more than 20 years ago out of the back of a pickup truck, but it came to Columbus only four months ago.

It's simple: you have five minutes; perform something original, but don't break anything, including the law, the set, yourself and the audience.

You can clog, rhyme or rant, and the good news is you don't have to be at your Broadway best.

"You could completely fall on your face, and we would still applaud you," said Michael Stiggers, a member of the comedy music group 4Guys, a mainstay on the No Shame stage.

The rest of the group - Jim Pharr, Cameron Bean and Adam Archer - which first performed together at No Shame, agreed.

The audience is supportive and understands mistakes, blunders and outright failures, they said. That's actually the theme behind No Shame: an uncensored, nonjudgmental avenue for expression.

You never know what you're going to get, but that's part of the fun, said SFC Zachary Smith, who attended a show with his wife, CPT Ashley Smith, for the first time in January.

"This is like a date night for us. I would definitely come again," Ashley said.
Both would recommend the experience, especially since you can't beat the price: $5.
Your fiver includes the chance to see original work of a featured visual artist and hear announcements about upcoming art events. The show also involves (voluntary) audience participation - you may find yourself on stage even if you didn't sign up.

Things You Need to Know:
What: Original five-minute performances for ages 18 and older.
When: 10 p.m. for performers. The first 15 acts in line are booked for the night. Show runs 10:30 to midnight.
Where: Springer Opera House. A mannequin with blinking police lights points the way.
Cost: $5 for performers and audience
Rating: For mature audiences, since works are uncensored, but five stars for a night of laughter and surprises at a can't-be-beat price.
More info: www.springeroperahouse.com under the About Us tab or No Shame's social media sites: www.facebook.com/noshametheater and http://twitter.com/noshametheater.

How to claim the spotlight:

1. Review your talents
Can you juggle, rap, tap dance or do gymnastics' Can you impersonate a famous person or quickly sketch a work of art' Think about your hobbies. If it's less than five minutes, your piece is eligible for No Shame.

2. Remember the details
Be at the Springer Opera House (First Avenue entrance) by 10 p.m. The first 15 people there will perform in the order they arrive. Be ready to come on stage from the audience when your name is called.

3. Rehearse your act
Practice. Practice. Practice. Make sure your act is less than five minutes. The lights will flicker at four minutes and go dark at five. Remember that when you're nervous, you speak faster, so take that into consideration.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16