Sunday, February 19, 2006

Funny Farts Theatre Iowa City, February 17, 2006

Funny Farts Theatre Iowa City, February 17, 2006
Michael SHOULD have the list of announcements, but doesn't.

1. "Peaches and Cream" by Jonathan Shelton (scene: sexability of Nicole Kidman, alive or dead, with famous male voices)

2. "Eric Tells Jokes About the News" by Eric Landuyt (exactly what it sounds like: most of the news is Asian)

3. "Shine" by Sean Shatto (extremely loud song w/keyboard)

4. "Donald's Lonely LunchBox, Part Intermission: Comedic Relief for the SpongeBob Crowd" by Cool Jesse and Patrick Swayze (stompy song about trucks w/props)

5. "Deconstructing John Bobbit" by Ronnie Milsap and Dick Roberts (stage banter, penis song w/keyboard)

6. "Doctor Adventure and . . . The Plucky Grad Student" by Evan Schenck (scene: new student fails to be Asian, will go along with the professor's insanity for music theory degree)

7. "Brian and Jake Make Weird Noises" by Brian and Jake (exactly what it sounds like)

8. "I Will Date You on the Internet: Week One" by Adam Hahn (monologue: joining personals sites, failing to find you)

9. "ESPN's 'Shooting for Excellence with Dick Cheney'" by Dick Roberts (scene: VP interviewed by sportscaster)

10. "The Suicide Girl" by Eli Wilkinson (scene: bad-at-sex girl wants attention before suicide, will be sexed dead or alive)

11. "What Not to Do" by Bobby Evers (brief scene: Is it a To-Do list, or--? I've just said.)

12. "Life's Not Scary Anymore: A Commentary" by Eric Landuyt (monologue: extremely long jail sentences)

13. "Snogging and That Time of the Month with a Dash of Homo-Eroticism Thrown in for Fun" by Nick May (scene: dream about kissing leads to scene about kissing leads to actual kissing?)

14. "The Davids" by Poupon "The Professor" Tabor (monologue: old man names everything David, lives among junk, missed family, fights for magic amulet)

63 Comments:

Blogger ibm5_25 said...

Yes! Refreshing the page every five minutes for the past few days has finally paid off and I'm the first comment!

I suppose I should say something useful now. Pish tosh.

2/19/2006 12:09 PM  
Blogger Michael Tabor said...

Well, aren't we lucky that Patrick wasn't here this week? He'd already have posted about 20 posts about how everybody sucks.
Also, I strongly believe that people arn't showing up for the shows not because there are no posters up, but because the shows suck.

1. "Peaches and Cream" by Jonathan Shelton (scene: sexability of Nicole Kidman, alive or dead, with famous male voices)

>Not my favorite Shelton piece. The end was kind of weird. Also kind of hilarious.

2. "Eric Tells Jokes About the News" by Eric Landuyt (exactly what it sounds like: most of the news is Asian)

>Much too long. Possibly would have been better if a .5 I was doing the lights and reading the script and Eric was skipping around and saying things that were not on it, which isn't a complaint, just an observation.

3. "Shine" by Sean Shatto (extremely loud song w/keyboard)

>I enjoyed it very much. It could have benefited not if the music was less loud, but if the vocal were MORE loud. The Shat! I love you.

4. "Donald's Lonely LunchBox, Part Intermission: Comedic Relief for the SpongeBob Crowd" by Cool Jesse and Patrick Swayze (stompy song about trucks w/props)

>I liked it alot. I wanted so badly for the audience to keep throwing the ball back at Jesse and for Jesse to keep hitting it into the audience and back forth.

5. "Deconstructing John Bobbit" by Ronnie Milsap and Dick Roberts (stage banter, penis song w/keyboard)

>The banter was good as always. The song was not, as always. Dick, maybe you should just write a piece that is just all stage banter. Conversational anticdotes and the like. It would be great! You're good at it! Just DON'T DO A SONG.

6. "Doctor Adventure and . . . The Plucky Grad Student" by Evan Schenck (scene: new student fails to be Asian, will go along with the professor's insanity for music theory degree)

>I love the concept of Super Science. However, this piece was way too long. It could have used some editing.

7. "Brian and Jake Make Weird Noises" by Brian and Jake (exactly what it sounds like)

>This was one of the highlights of the evening for me. I can't count for you the number of times I've sat around in the living room or been driving in a car and Brian and Jake start doing things like this. This piece was a nice buffer. It gave everybody a breather. Very good. I'm glad I forced them into doing it.

8. "I Will Date You on the Internet: Week One" by Adam Hahn (monologue: joining personals sites, failing to find you)

>One of my favorite Adam pieces in recent memory. I felt bad for Eric and Eli's girlfriends, but they seemed good sports.

9. "ESPN's 'Shooting for Excellence with Dick Cheney'" by Dick Roberts (scene: VP interviewed by sportscaster)

>I felt bad having to be so directly involved in the race humor.

10. "The Suicide Girl" by Eli Wilkinson (scene: bad-at-sex girl wants attention before suicide, will be sexed dead or alive)

>Kudos to Eli! I liked it! The Shat stomping accross stage was very good.

11. "What Not to Do" by Bobby Evers (brief scene: Is it a To-Do list, or--? I've just said.)

>Bobby Evers is a great performer. I've said it once, and I will continue to do so. I hope that he never stops coming. Please don't, Bobby.

12. "Life's Not Scary Anymore: A Commentary" by Eric Landuyt (monologue: extremely long jail sentences)

>It was alright.

13. "Snogging and That Time of the Month with a Dash of Homo-Eroticism Thrown in for Fun" by Nick May (scene: dream about kissing leads to scene about kissing leads to actual kissing?)

>Pi and Pii. Nick, I'm not fucking around. Pi and and imaginary Pi. That being said: I don't like pieces that are about writing the pieces.

14. "The Davids" by Poupon "The Professor" Tabor (monologue: old man names everything David, lives among junk, missed family, fights for magic amulet)

>I think it was my best writing for awhile, but it's not very good for performing. This was something that I just went up there and read. Me stomping around and yelling and having bad grammar and weird ideas is much more entertaining, I think.

2/19/2006 12:46 PM  
Anonymous Bobby said...

1. "Peaches and Cream" by Jonathan Shelton (scene: sexability of Nicole Kidman, alive or dead, with famous male voices)


i thought it was pretty funny until the end. i like how shelton talks. it makes me smile.


2. "Eric Tells Jokes About the News" by Eric Landuyt (exactly what it sounds like: most of the news is Asian)

I really liked this, it was funny and well-done. The jokes were hit or miss and most of them were hit!!!

3. "Shine" by Sean Shatto (extremely loud song w/keyboard)

sean is funny and crazy and i like it when he experiments with lights.

4. "Donald's Lonely LunchBox, Part Intermission: Comedic Relief for the SpongeBob Crowd" by Cool Jesse and Patrick Swayze (stompy song about trucks w/props)

a good use of props.

5. "Deconstructing John Bobbit" by Ronnie Milsap and Dick Roberts (stage banter, penis song w/keyboard)

I'm glad dick did this piece because i feel like the bobbit thing is just fair game that no one has even addressed.


6. "Doctor Adventure and . . . The Plucky Grad Student" by Evan Schenck (scene: new student fails to be Asian, will go along with the professor's insanity for music theory degree)

This was really well-written, there were so many one-liners that were really good, including when shelton said soemthing about someone being dead and evan says, "Are you certain?" the way he delivered that, and the rarity of someone saying 'certain' vs 'sure', it was one of many things i really appreciated about this piece. there was some racial stuff in it that was borderline bad but it was relieved by the plucky shelton pointing out that it was racist. which saved it. i also liked that evan refered to a polish person as a Pole and not a pollock. i think racial terms for white people are really funny.

7. "Brian and Jake Make Weird Noises" by Brian and Jake (exactly what it sounds like)

This was actually very stimulating and entertaining and i really liked seeing it. Ya'll should do more!

8. "I Will Date You on the Internet: Week One" by Adam Hahn (monologue: joining personals sites, failing to find you)

I always like adam's pieces, but I like pieces that are more personal and for adam to do a more personal piece was just that much better for me. well done, sir.

9. "ESPN's 'Shooting for Excellence with Dick Cheney'" by Dick Roberts (scene: VP interviewed by sportscaster)

good concept, though i do prefer short and sweet pieces.

10. "The Suicide Girl" by Eli Wilkinson (scene: bad-at-sex girl wants attention before suicide, will be sexed dead or alive)

I really liked how katy said "splash!" when she hit the water, that was soo funny

11. "What Not to Do" by Bobby Evers (brief scene: Is it a To-Do list, or--? I've just said.)

Katy's delivery of "It's a to-do list.... i JUST said." and then the subsequent glare..... phenomenal.

12. "Life's Not Scary Anymore: A Commentary" by Eric Landuyt (monologue: extremely long jail sentences)

i don't rememeber this piece for some reason, probably because i had just been on stage and was still coming down frmo the nervous high. sorry.

13. "Snogging and That Time of the Month with a Dash of Homo-Eroticism Thrown in for Fun" by Nick May (scene: dream about kissing leads to scene about kissing leads to actual kissing?)

i really like things that are things within things and i appreciated the cameo thing, as well as pieces about boys kissing boys because way to be radical. They should have actually kissed though.

14. "The Davids" by Poupon "The Professor" Tabor (monologue: old man names everything David, lives among junk, missed family, fights for magic amulet)

Tabor pieces are classic and hilarious and perfect. This was no exception. I like it when tabor writes pieces and he needs to do it every week. This week and last weeks tabor pieces had me laughing deep within my soul.

15. WHERE IS APRILLE!??? WHY ISNT SHE HERE??? WE LIKE YOU!!!!

2/19/2006 1:02 PM  
Blogger ibm5_25 said...

I doubt any of my feedback will be especially profound.

1. "Peaches and Cream" by Jonathan Shelton (scene: sexability of Nicole Kidman, alive or dead, with famous male voices)

This was enjoyable...perhaps a tad formulaic, but still enjoyable.

2. "Eric Tells Jokes About the News" by Eric Landuyt (exactly what it sounds like: most of the news is Asian)

Pretty good. Don't remember it too well.

3. "Shine" by Sean Shatto (extremely loud song w/keyboard)

Normally I enjoy Sean's snits on stage, but this one...it was just bothersome noise to me. Maybe if I could have heard what he was..shouting.

4. "Donald's Lonely LunchBox, Part Intermission: Comedic Relief for the SpongeBob Crowd" by Cool Jesse and Patrick Swayze (stompy song about trucks w/props)

Typical Jesse. He should have done the story about stealing/borrowing balls from a handicapped children's daycare instead. He told that before the show in the lounge and I thought it was funny.

5. "Deconstructing John Bobbit" by Ronnie Milsap and Dick Roberts (stage banter, penis song w/keyboard)

Stage banter good. Song less-so. Interrupting himself during the song, good. I think Dick's best song was "Battle Hymn to the Republicans", from a few weeks ago. Maybe another six months would have helped?

6. "Doctor Adventure and . . . The Plucky Grad Student" by Evan Schenck (scene: new student fails to be Asian, will go along with the professor's insanity for music theory degree)

Enjoyable Evan, but seemed to move a little slowly. I liked how much the prof had the grad students by the balls grade-wise. Probably quite true.

7. "Brian and Jake Make Weird Noises" by Brian and Jake (exactly what it sounds like)

This was really neat. I wish I'd know they were going to start producing speech sounds that I could have made sense of beforehand so I could have listened for them, but still quite good.

8. "I Will Date You on the Internet: Week One" by Adam Hahn (monologue: joining personals sites, failing to find you)

I don't have anything particular to say. This was good. Reminds me of running Facebook search after Facebook search, seaching obsessively for You.

9. "ESPN's 'Shooting for Excellence with Dick Cheney'" by Dick Roberts (scene: VP interviewed by sportscaster)

I think this piece lacked something. I'm not sure what. Still had good bits, though. Also, coughing was pretty damn realistic.
With what Michael said about #5, agree that Dick could make a very awesome piece consisting solely of stage banter. He could still do political commentary each week, just not in song/sportcast form.

10. "The Suicide Girl" by Eli Wilkinson (scene: bad-at-sex girl wants attention before suicide, will be sexed dead or alive)

I knew about the story behind this one beforehand, and that only made it better. "splash" was great and the person on the cell phone (Bobby? Sean? can't remember) was great.

11. "What Not to Do" by Bobby Evers (brief scene: Is it a To-Do list, or--? I've just said.)

Enjoyable.

12. "Life's Not Scary Anymore: A Commentary" by Eric Landuyt (monologue: extremely long jail sentences)

Pretty good...seemed a little long, maybe. I liked the bit about making him into a statue/putting him in a glass case.

13. "Snogging and That Time of the Month with a Dash of Homo-Eroticism Thrown in for Fun" by Nick May (scene: dream about kissing leads to scene about kissing leads to actual kissing?)

This was my first piece of any substance (because the poems don't really count) and I don't think it was half-bad.

Any failings in/of this piece were due to its writing--my writing--and not to the actors. Eric and Eli did a wonderful job and showed me just how much I cannot act.

I just posted the script on my website, if anyone is interested. It is licensed under a Creative Commons license, something which I expect to explain in a skit in the next few weeks.

Michael--the PI and PII does seem a little lame in retrospect, but I didn't want to type out "Player I" and "Player II" each time. I was afraid that someone would but no one did get their lines mixed up so it's all good. And roman numerals are the shit. I'm not dicking around.

14. "The Davids" by Poupon "The Professor" Tabor (monologue: old man names everything David, lives among junk, missed family, fights for magic amulet)

This was pretty good. It's not the sort of thing I'd usually laugh at very much, but I couldn't help myself. Coming right after my piece I see how much I need to learn how to write more humorous stuff/how far I have to go.

2/19/2006 4:22 PM  
Blogger Evan Schenck said...

I agree with Michael Tabor that the pieces are sucking kinda bad these days. Something must be done.

1. "Peaches and Cream" by Jonathan Shelton

I thought the core concept was good, but the punchline failed because there is a lack of effective John Lovitz impersonators.

2. "Eric Tells Jokes About the News" by Eric Landuyt

Meh. Some funny jokes, but nothing too amazing.

3. "Shine" by Sean Shatto

I don't think this was up to the standards of Sean's best material but it was still good. I think the 'musical' portion was too loud (and scary) so it overshadowed everything else.

4. "Donald's Lonely LunchBox, Part Intermission: Comedic Relief for the SpongeBob Crowd"

Good piece in the Jesse Blaine style.

5. "Deconstructing John Bobbit" by Ronnie Milsap and Dick Roberts

As I have heard others say, Dick Roberts stage banter is good, songs kind of a drag. It was too long and I think John Wayne Bobbit jokes went out style some time ago. The jokes we made about his porn career at the Village Inn after the show (coming up with good names for all four Frankenpenis movies).

6. "Doctor Adventure and . . . The Plucky Grad Student" by Evan Schenck

I'll admit that this wasn't my best.

7. "Brian and Jake Make Weird Noises" by Brian and Jake

Maybe the highlight of the evening. Considering that difficulties of the situation they were working under (like being signed up by Michael Tabor and not being told until just before the show), Brian and Jake made a sterling effort.

8. "I Will Date You on the Internet: Week One" by Adam Hahn

Good one, and I'm looking forward the continuation of the series, unless Adam gets a girlfriend, which I guess would also be good but not as funny.

9. "ESPN's 'Shooting for Excellence with Dick Cheney'"

Meh.

10. "The Suicide Girl" by Eli Wilkinson

This was funny in general, but I think the funniest part was when Katy Baggs jumped into the river and said "splash" in a very entertaining fashion. No offense to Eli, but she put the entire piece to shame with a single ad-libbed word.

11. "What Not to Do" by Bobby Evers

The final line of the piece, delivered with characteristic Bobby Evers style, was hilarious.

12. "Life's Not Scary Anymore: A Commentary"

This was a funny piece but I think it lacked originality. Everybody has thought about outrageously long sentences at one time or another.

13. "Snogging and That Time of the Month with a Dash of Homo-Eroticism Thrown in for Fun"

The best part of this piece was the confusing meta-fictional relationship between the author as played by Eli, the author as the writer of the piece, and the author as he appeared in a brief cameo. Also Eli played the part where he was trying to make out with Shelton very convincingly.

14. "The Davids" by Poupon "The Professor" Tabor

Probably the best all-around piece of tonight, and I hope that this is the one that people tell their friends about when they explain where they were on Friday night. The highlight of this piece was the process of calling everything "David."

2/19/2006 4:44 PM  
Blogger Evan Schenck said...

I noticed that I totally failed to complete several thoughts in the last response. Oh well.

2/19/2006 4:46 PM  
Anonymous Sean said...

Okay, I wish that it was easy to talk about this kind of thing face-to-face. But, since I am passive aggressive and more comfortable on the internet, I'll say it here.

Basically, it comes down to this: The reason No Shame has been hard to sit through lately isn't because any of you suck. You are all good and creative people with lots of good things to say and do! That said, I think what's killing our shows are jokes that aren't funny.

Racial humor is almost never funny and should never be played as a default place to go. It's cheap laughs, if ever laughs. Getting to a good racial joke takes a lot of patience and practice and critical thought.

Sexual humor that demeans women is not funny. This includes piece-long jokes such as "The Suicide Girl." The whole thing was completely mocking this girl, and there was no reason for us to laugh at it. At all. Suicide is almost never funny. A woman being sad because her boyfriend said she was bad at sex isn't funny - it's a fucking serious social issue that needs to be dealt with, and CAN be made fun of, but only after really thinking about the implications of making fun of such things.

I'm saying, if you're trying to be offensive just for the sake of being offensive, please stop. We get the point already! Driving it into our heads week after week that we have taboos won't make those taboos go away. Treating women as second class citizens/characters will not get us anywhere. Think about what the general audience will think; are they going to get the joke? If they don't get the joke, how have you succeeded? Are you just trying to sabotage No Shame theatre and make it completely unwatchable? I really hope not.

Because No Shame is a beautiful concept and place and thing. It's important to INVITE people in rather than try constantly to turn them off.

Point is, think about your audience and whether they're going to get anything out of your piece. If you're just doing it for yourself, I'm not saying that you should go fuck yourself, but you should... I don't know, just think about the audience. Okay?

2/20/2006 12:54 AM  
Blogger ibm5_25 said...

Bravo. Think of the audience.

2/20/2006 1:04 AM  
Blogger Eli Wilkinson the First said...

Okay so I feel that Sean your comments were mainly directed at me so I feel the need to defend myself and my piece. My piece was not to demean women in anyway. The point was to actually insult Eric and his constant obsession with sex. All the girls’ actions were meant to set up the eventual whack in his face when he showed up. Now with the girls badness at doing the deed was necessary to show that he would sleep with anyone even the worst ones. The point of her threatening to kill herself was not to say that "all women who are bad at sex should kill themselves" it was to set up an obstacle that my character and then Eric's character would have to face. This way, all the characters have an objective, (my characters goal was to get her to NOT kill herself and hers was to GET help from somebody, thus the plea for people to gather around.) All characters had an tactic, mine was trying to creep her out of it with a threat of dead body rape, hers was to cry out because and I should've noted this in the script because really in situations like that, it is just a cry out for help. Now with all of this in mind the point of the whole piece was to say that people would rather die than sleep with Eric. It was not to be taken as offensive to anyone but Eric who I believe wasn't insulted by it. I tried to clear the point of my script as well as I could with her character agreeing not to jump and meet Eric and thus fulfilling both of our objectives temporarily, then with his crazy sex offender like dialogue used when Eric enters causes both of us to give up our tactics and thus her saying "Hey... push me..." so that she doesn't have to deal with Eric.

Also... the point of the people on the bridge was me trying to express the anger I have these days for people who do not take things such as suicide seriously. I myself have been suicidal in my past and one of my greatest fears is the indifference that good people have towards suicide. I know for a fact that if it wasn't for Shelton, I might not be here today. So in all honesty my piece was anti-suicide with the exception of hers which was done to create the joke I was trying to portray.

I was told I shouldn’t do this but in this case I must. If anyone else saw this piece as demeaning to women then I must apologize. Obviously if one person thought it was that way then more might have as well. It was certainly not my intent and I guess I’m sorry that I don’t do silly pieces.

2/20/2006 1:43 AM  
Blogger Eli Wilkinson the First said...

Oh and if you count this as offensive it was my first offensive piece since Oct. 14th and that one wasn't really all that offensive (at least I dont count it as such) and it was actually pretty silly, so if you don't count that one then it would've been back in september so I hope that comment about trying to be offensive wasn't directed at me and if it was then you need to look at the orders.

2/20/2006 1:55 AM  
Anonymous Sean said...

My basic tired point is, the audience doesn't know these people. In-jokes are okay once in a while, but when you use no shame regulars as characters, it makes the audience feel like they're at some kind of club where they're not really welcome. They don't know that Eric is sex obsessed; they see a piece like that, or like many of Eric's previous pieces, and think that it's just intended to be a gross-out piece, something to get a rise out of an uncomfortable audience.

Do you see how jokes about "asian vaginas" and suicidal women set up as a joke and stuff like that are cheap laughs at best, and completely nauseating at worst? I'm sorry that I'm using "The Suicide Girl" as such an example, but it's the most recent one, the freshest in my mind, and it was so unpleasant at the end. No one got the joke because the joke wasn't obvious, you know? Just try to... I don't know, like I said, think about the audience.

Realize that if you set up a scene as funny - if you place jokes all throughout it - it's hard to drive home an important issue like ignorance of suicidal people. You really mixed your messages: was this a serious cry against suicide and ignorance of suicide, or was it a big joke about Eric?

If so, why be so mean to Eric? I can never tell when you folks are being sarcastic, and it's really unnerving.

2/20/2006 2:48 AM  
Blogger Evan Schenck said...

Originally I was going to respond tomorrow but Sean's post was so affecting that I thought I had to do it now or else I wouldn't sleep well.

Your criticism is well-founded and I'll take into account in the future. Furthermore, you shouldn't worry about saying it directly to my face; I can take negative feedback as long as it's fair. I think there's a problem in talking to people about their pieces wherein you try not to hurt their feelings, and I do this myself. When I and another no-shamer discuss the piece of someone not present it's never the same as when that person is present, and I wonder what people are saying about my work when I'm not there to hear. Good criticism is less pleasant than praise but far more useful, so nobody should be afraid to tell me what they think I can improve. It might be unfair of me to say that, as I must admit that I'm afraid to offer substantive criticism myself.

My excuse for poor pieces, by the way, is that I'm new to it. Last Friday marked, I believe, the twelfth piece I've ever performed at No-Shame. I've only been doing this regularly since last fall, and even then I'm forced to miss about half of the performances. I'm still learning to write funny (or even just interesting) pieces and any help is much appreciated. My hope is that by the time I'm as damnably old as the board members I'll be able to produce to the same standards. I'm thinking of a piece in a more serious tone for my next effort and I hope it works out.

I should qualify Sean's post, however, with the statement that you can't set too much store by trying not to give offense. You can't always be walking on eggshells with respect to audience response. I don't think that was what Sean was saying (rather, he was just saying that we have to keep them entertained, and excess of taboo-breaking is no good in that respect), but I think it does need to be said that humor relies on overturning the expectation.

And it may be an acidic thing to say and I hope you don't take offense, Sean, but in the spirit of open criticism... I think I would have taken your point better if it had come from Adam or Aprille or even Michael fuckin' Tabor. You produce pieces that aren't intrinsically any better or worse than theirs, but theirs have a few features yours don't, namely: script, characters, and story. Pieces by Shatto are interesting and some of them are seriously engaging (Center of the Spiral still really sticks in my head) but they live entirely in the moment that they're presented and depend totally on your own stage presence. As hard as it is to improv a piece, it is as hard in a different way to sit down well in advance and create a complex scene in one's head.

...

All that said, I'm going to try harder in the future.

2/20/2006 3:05 AM  
Anonymous katy baggs said...

Speaking of racial issues/getting more people to come, where are the minorities involved in No Shame? I know this campus is pretty white, but come on, we are a collection of the whitest whities from White Town (even our delicious downtown ice cream eatery is Caucasianly named). Has there ever been a time when No Shame was actually diverse??

p.s. - Sadie Martha Smith, No Shame misses your pixie whimsy.

2/20/2006 3:26 AM  
Blogger Eli Wilkinson the First said...

You know Katy, I've been coming for years and I really don't remember many people of any minority as a regular performer... and Sean the point was to tease Eric, with a dash of my social commentary against suicide added in. But just for all of you, I vow to do 'silly' non offensive pieces for the next few weeks.

2/20/2006 3:44 AM  
Blogger Eli Wilkinson the First said...

and why are we all up so late!? Our mommy's would be very angry at us.

2/20/2006 3:44 AM  
Blogger Michael Tabor said...

Evan said: “And it may be an acidic thing to say and I hope you don't take offense, Sean, but in the spirit of open criticism... I think I would have taken your point better if it had come from Adam or Aprille or even Michael fuckin' Tabor. You produce pieces that aren't intrinsically any better or worse than theirs, but theirs have a few features yours don't, namely: script, characters, and story…”

That’s bullshit. I think Sean’s opinion is valid. I don’t think it would be any more valid coming from Aprille or I. Sean is a very smart person and his opinion becomes valid by being a member of the audience NOT a writer. All of his arguments were from the perspective of an audience member. It doesn’t matter whether or not he’s written a lick in order for him to make these arguments effectively. And I feel he has.

Also, I agree with these arguments of Sean’s, for the most part, and am for once glad that an internet No Shame debate has been started. We all know how I feel about race humor. Even if it is in good spirits, or it is meant to be a social commentary, I don’t like it. I have no internal conflict about this. Racism, in any context, is not funny. Sexism is MOSTLY not funny, unless it’s Buster Keaton shoving a lady into a burlap sack and then throwing her into a train car and then a bunch of dudes, not knowing she’s in there, throwing heavy objects onto her. That was hilarious.

2/20/2006 8:32 AM  
Blogger ibm5_25 said...

Speaking of minorites, my RA (who is black) has decided to give No Shame a try this week. FYI.

2/20/2006 11:22 AM  
Blogger Evan Schenck said...

Michael--
"That’s bullshit. I think Sean’s opinion is valid. I don’t think it would be any more valid coming from Aprille or I. Sean is a very smart person and his opinion becomes valid by being a member of the audience NOT a writer. All of his arguments were from the perspective of an audience member. It doesn’t matter whether or not he’s written a lick in order for him to make these arguments effectively. And I feel he has."

I know Sean's right and I said so myself, it was just my gut reaction to it. It's like if I got a bad grade on a history paper, and Travis started telling me what I did wrong on it. Even if he were right, I wouldn't take it as well as I would criticism from Eli or another history major. It's not that Sean isn't right or that I don't value his opinion, it's just that it bothered me.

2/20/2006 12:03 PM  
Blogger Michael Tabor said...

That’s not what it’s like at all, though. Sean is offering his opinion from the perspective of an audience member. Him being an audience member, it’s like if you got a bad grade on a history paper and then Eli told you what was wrong on it.

2/20/2006 12:57 PM  
Anonymous katy baggs said...

Hmmm. I have seen race humor that I thought was done differently enough to be clever and new, however this is very rare. I just don't care about race humor - I don't regularly watch it or think of it, and I've never considered writing a No Shame piece based on race humor. So from the point of view of someone who finds race humor wholly uninteresting, I'm kind of torn between believing that No Shame really does have the potential to be a place for smart commentary about any topic, and being TIRED of race humor. If you're using race humor for the sake of race humor, don't do it. If your race humor has a point, don't do it unless that point is saying something new. Then still don't do it unless it's written well, clearly and intelligently so people will get it. Then I'll judge it with an open mind.

Jeez. It's good that there's actually a serious discussion going on, but it also makes me long for the days when the most unpleasant thing about No Shame was the occasional naked scrotum.

P.S. Sexism is also funny when it comes from Dabney Coleman before Dolly Parton, Lily Tomlin, and Jane Fonda tie him up in his house.

And Jesse's piece reminded me that I like wacky props a lot. More silly inanimate objects, everyone.

2/20/2006 1:19 PM  
Blogger Michael Tabor said...

I think we should all agree on one thing at least: the name of the theatre should be renamed "Funny Farts Theatre."

2/20/2006 2:58 PM  
Blogger santangelo said...

Yikes! Looks like I've been missing out on some hi-larious racial and suicide jokes. Also that people don't like Patrick because he left a bunch of short comments about how everyone's piece last week (including his own) sucked. I think this is the Pashcraft way. Also, suicide isn't funny, unless its done in a slapstick kind of way.

So really I just want to say that I miss you all very very much. Right around the time you were doing No Shame this past Friday I was laying on the beach...which actually doesn't sound like too bad of a comparison in my favor come to think of it now...but still, I miss no shame.

Evert think about making cute baby t's That say "I *heart* NS"? Or just some tshirts in general to spread the good no shame word? I know some have been made in the past but I think mor eshould be made.

I ma having a great time down here and it averages over 80 degrees everyday. Also I will be an undergrad at Iowa for the res tof my life.

You should visit my Australia blog. It is http://santangelove.blogspot.com. It is cool. Unfortunately, the digital camera I was promised to be lent was not lent to me (I think because we weren't sleeping together anymore...dickhead), but I am takinglots of pictures with $25 disposable cameras (this is an average price here) and I will get them on the intra-net as soon as possible.

Take car eof yourselves, be brilliant writers, don't take comments people make about your pieces extrememly to heart unless you abviously did something very, very wrong, stay warm, a thousand points of light, no new taxes, stay to the course.

Love,

¬Danielle¬

2/20/2006 5:20 PM  
Blogger Eli Wilkinson the First said...

Evan! You didn't properly cite your sources!

2/20/2006 5:47 PM  
Anonymous katy baggs said...

1. If people don't explore different subjects in pieces, they won't grow as much as writers and the constructive criticism they get will be limited to the area of things they're not afraid to do. But sometimes Poop is Poop.

2. Speaking of Poop, Poop is funny.

3. Danielle Australiangelo!!!

4. Meh, we were on a rape thing, now we're on a race thing. It will pass. Yawn.

5. Remember when we did that mini-show in Currier before the real show? Something like that might could happen again, maybe???

2/20/2006 6:40 PM  
Blogger Evan Schenck said...

Katy B.
"4. Meh, we were on a rape thing, now we're on a race thing. It will pass. Yawn."

Well, I think the rape thing was bad enough, it would be wise to take proactive action and avoid another such issue this semester.

Michael
"That’s not what it’s like at all, though. Sean is offering his opinion from the perspective of an audience member. Him being an audience member, it’s like if you got a bad grade on a history paper and then Eli told you what was wrong on it."

I think the metaphor has been stretched too much--but you're right and I must accept it, Michael. You really aren't fucking around.

2/20/2006 8:13 PM  
Anonymous katy baggs said...

What's that action going to be? We're already talking the issue to death (though I wish more people would come into this debate, I'd like to know what other people think).

2/20/2006 9:24 PM  
Blogger Evan Schenck said...

"What's that action going to be?"

Well, I was planning on just avoiding the kinds of humor Sean was talking about in my future pieces this semester.

2/20/2006 9:58 PM  
Anonymous katy baggs said...

Yeah, that's the kind of thing I meant. To me, the word "action" implied imposing some sort of rule, and that won't do. It is up to each person's own discretion what to write about. (MORE BEARD SKITS)

2/20/2006 10:58 PM  
Anonymous Adam would not shut up when he said...

Apparently, everyone has been more disappointed with recent shows than I have. They haven't been great, but I think low attendance and short orders have affected our morale and made us unusually critical. Let's take advantage of this mindset to find opportunities for improvement. (Ugh-- That last line lapsed into corporate-speak.)

This post includes a review, responses to individual questions and comments, and short essays on related topics. If you get bored, just scroll down six or seven inches and I'll be talking about something completely different.

1. "Peaches and Cream" by Jonathan Shelton
This piece set up an entrance for someone who looked like Nicole Kidman, which Eric Landuyt does not. That was a bigger problem for me than anything about his impression.
The beginning of this scene was fun, but it should have been retooled for a completely different ending.

2. "Eric Tells Jokes About the News" by Eric Landuyt
Something about Eric's cadence reminded me more of 70s-early80s SNL re-run Weekend Updates than an actual newscaster. I'm not sure if this is good or bad, or if this was indeed Eric's influence, but it's certainly weird if this was an impression of a parody, the original 70s-early80s source material for which was never heard by most of the audience.
As a straight-up series of set-ups and punchlines, this piece suffered from:
-being performed in front of few audience members. Everything is funnier in a crowd. Everything except, "Fire!"
-having too many set-ups that involved obscure Asian news items. Would anyone have know if half of these were fabricated?
-Being second and following Shelton's solid opening and wobbly ending.
-Not being condensed. The best 50-75% of the jokes might have gotten three times the laughs.

3. "Shine" by Sean Shatto
Love Sean, hate loud noise. I heard this one with my fingers in my ears.

4. "Donald's Lonely LunchBox, Part Intermission: Comedic Relief for the SpongeBob Crowd" by Cool Jesse and Patrick Swayze
One of my favorite Cool Jesse pieces.

5. "Deconstructing John Bobbit" by Ronnie Milsap and Dick Roberts
Did the world really need one more John Bobbit song?

6. "Doctor Adventure and . . . The Plucky Grad Student" by Evan Schenck
I remember there being several great lines, but the scene needed to be significantly shorter.
More on racial and other taboo humor below

7. "Brian and Jake Make Weird Noises" by Brian and Jake
One thousand times better than I imagined in could be when MT handed me the script.

8. "I Will Date You on the Internet: Week One"
Inspired by true events. I hate looking for you this way.

9. "ESPN's 'Shooting for Excellence with Dick Cheney'" by Dick Roberts
The simplest way to improve this piece would have been to sit down with a thick marker and not stand up until the script was down to half its original length.
Reading the script at the light board, I was surprised by what the audience did or did not like. So-so lines got the biggest laughts, while jokes I expected people to get fell on the stage with audible thuds.
Cheney certainly deserves parody, but some of the insults seemed to come out of nowhere. If you're going to have the vice president refer to someone as "Sambo", you need to work a little harder to establish him as a racist.
More on racial and other taboo humor below.

Nick:
>Also, coughing was pretty damn realistic.
I don't think it was scripted.

10. "The Suicide Girl" by Eli Wilkinson
Shatto was indeed wonderful. Great performances all around. The beginning was quick with a lot of things happening, but once Eli joined Katy everything slowed down.
Eli, you are a good enough writer that should know difference between "disinterested" and "uninterested". Look them up.
That reminds me. In last week's blog posts, did you pick on Patrick for his use of "your" then write another post using the non-word "angerly"? Did you think you would get away with that?
More about this scene below under "Why I hate The Merchant of Venice".

11. "What Not to Do" by Bobby Evers
Wonderful.

12. "Life's Not Scary Anymore: A Commentary"
I liked the line about us not knowing if you were using his first or last name.

13. "Snogging and That Time of the Month with a Dash of Homo-Eroticism Thrown in for Fun" by Nick May
There was a definite trend this week for pieces to start strong and weaken. I liked the beginning, "General Default Protagonist", the author cameo. Then it seemed like you were either ripping off or over-referencing "Adaptation". Then at the end I really didn't care if Eli was going to kiss anyone
Keep bringing things, Nick. There was some really fun and ambitious stuff in this.

14. "The Davids" by Poupon "The Professor" Tabor
Really good. I had my eyes on the script during this, and in my mind MT was stomping and yelling. I don't know if he really was or not, and I don't care, because the script was stomping and yelling.

Also, somewhere between two pieces, MT and I performed our work-in-progress "Toaster Oven". It didn't go over well.

The Service at Village Inn
Sherry is the best.

Bobby:
>15. WHERE IS APRILLE!??? WHY ISNT SHE HERE???
>WE LIKE YOU!!!!
Aprille was in London this weekend, because SHE HATES YOU.

Evan:
>My excuse for poor pieces, by the way, is that I'm
>new to it.
> . . .
>My hope is that by the time I'm as damnably old
>as the board members I'll be able to produce to
>the same standards.
Don't make excuses. Just write the best pieces you can, and you'll grow.
Do you ever notice that sometimes board members sometimes bring shitty pieces? I notice it. Sometimes, they bring something inexcusably bad, something that would get Eric Landuyt publicly beheaded, but we let them get away with it because we're familiar with their cheesy stage presences. I hate those old fuckers.

Evan:
>And it may be an acidic thing to say and I hope you
>don't take offense, Sean
>. . .
>As hard as it is to improv a piece,
>it is as hard in a different way to sit down well in
>advance and create a complex scene in one's head.
Evan, I don't know you well, but you seem like a smart guy. I'm guessing this is the stupidest thing you've typed in months. Improv is different from writing a script, but BAD improv, just like BAD short-format comedic writing, tends toward violence, sex, and taboo humor without insight. Cheap laughs are cheap laughs, and an improv actor can always make the excuse, "I went with what popped into my mind. Improv is hard. I wasn't allowed to sit down in advance and create a complex scene in my head." Sean's unique style doesn't need characters or traditional narrative to have opportunities to insult and alienate the audience.
Sean is halfway through song lyrics created completely in the moment by free association. You are halfway through a scene that you outlined a week ago and will revise several more times before performing. It occurs to both of you, "If I call the guy who made my burrito at Panchero's a 'Spic', people will laugh." Both of you can do whatever you choose with this thought, but whatever you do is your own responsibility.
And what MT already said about Sean's viewpoint as an audience member.

Katy:
>Has there ever been a time when No Shame was
>actually diverse??
Not in my memory. We've had occasional minority performers, but I can't recall any non-white ("white" including "Jewish" and "half-white/half-Asian") regulars.

Nick:
>Speaking of minorites, my RA (who is
>black) has decided to give No Shame
>a try this week. FYI.
Yay, tokenism!
Everyone behave, we have a guest.
(Sorry, I just feel ridiculous thinking of a person of color in the audience as a special event.)

MT:
>I think we should all agree on one thing at least:
>the name of the theatre should be renamed "Funny
>Farts Theatre."
Can we please, please, please stop joking about this? At best, this has been really annoying since the second or third "big butt" week last semester. At worst, any confusion we create is not helping us bring in an audience.

Why I hate The Merchant of Venice
Separated from the play, Shylock is a great character. He has motivations, backstory, personality, and a sympathetic if controlling love for his daughter. His arc through the play has the makings of a great tragedy, and his destruction is both suspenseful and inevitable.
The problem is that is that Shylock's suffering is treated as nothing but a sideline to romantic comedy with a fucking stupid plot. Even if Shakespeare INTENDED to show us that Shylock was a victim of Christian hypocrisy, he had the effect of making us believe that, as nothing more than a well-written stock villain, he deserved to suffer. Lovers end up together, Christians keep their flesh, and we should be happy to see The Mean Jew vanquished.
The lesson here is that Eli's intentions to protest society's indifference to those in need of help and against Eric personally and his claim, "I guess I’m sorry that I don’t do silly pieces," DON'T MATTER. What matters is that this is a silly, silly piece about a feud between an indiscriminate horn-dog and a necrophiliac. Completely sidelined is the suffering of the suicide/sex-victim girl. I didn't take this as a statement that women should be valued by their ability to sexually gratify men, but I can see how another audience member would.

Taboo Humor
Jokes about racism, race, sexism, sex, drugs, rape, homophobia, eating fetuses, etc. have long been staples of the No Shame diet. Most of these jokes are bad, and many have absolutely nothing to offer in social redemptive value. One of the reasons people come to No Shame is to see rules (theatrical, social, grammatical, etc.) broken, and even the awful jokes sometimes get great audience response.
It is easy to write a joke on a taboo subject, hard to write a good joke, and nigh impossible to get the audience to understand the difference.
If you make jokes about minorities because you're white and it makes you feel good, or if you joke about rape because you like the idea of women being powerless and afraid, that is inexcusable. Of course, No Shame will still provide you the venue to express your hateful viewpoints.
If you don't hate women and people of different skin colors, then don't make others' hatred more acceptable by emulating them for cheap laughs.
Please joke about these things only if you really are interested in challenging the audience to accept less hatred. Remember they don't know you, don't automatically know when you're kidding, don't know that you are a member of NOW and one of the original Freedom Riders. Write the smartest jokes you can. If those jokes fail, it is better that they fail somewhere safe like No Shame.

In other news:
-This Friday and Saturday are your last chance to see Dreamwell's Production of "Waiting for Godot" at the Old Capitol Mall. Pat Keyes (you don't know him, but you should) is in it, and he says it's good. I'm going.

2/21/2006 1:21 AM  
Anonymous katy baggs said...

Fun Fact: When standing in line at Old Capitol to get into the Dreamwell show, you will be staging your own performance of "Waiting for Waiting for Godot."

2/21/2006 3:10 AM  
Blogger Michael Tabor said...

Oh, man! Before I saw the author of that gigantic post and just saw how gigantic the post was, I thought to myself, “This must have been written by Adam.” I was right.

“Speaking of minorites, my RA (who is black) has decided to give No Shame a try this week. FYI.”

Doesn’t the happening of us having to be warned that a black person will be in the audience indicate that the humor is not necessarily appropriate? Jamal has a good rule: “If there’s a person that you would not make the joke in front of, you probably shouldn’t make the joke.”

“Speaking of Poop, Poop is funny.”

I agree!

“Remember when we did that mini-show in Currier before the real show? Something like that might could happen again, maybe???”

Riverfest, baby! I signed us up!

“"Brian and Jake Make Weird Noises" by Brian and Jake
One thousand times better than I imagined in could be when MT handed me the script.”

You totally hated the idea and didn’t really want to put it in at all. NOBODY trusted me on this. Maybe people shouldn’t be so quick to second guess me. I know what I’m talking about. I may play a bumbling fool on stage and in some social situations, but in reality, I’m very, very smart. A super-genius? Perhaps.

“Also, somewhere between two pieces, MT and I performed our work-in-progress "Toaster Oven". It didn't go over well.”

I thought Toaster Oven went well for it’s first workshop. We should re-tool it and present it again for feedback. Does anybody have any feedback now?

“Not in my memory. We've had occasional minority performers, but I can't recall any non-white ("white" including "Jewish" and "half-white/half-Asian") regulars.”

I’ve been avoiding naming off minority performers from the past, but I CAN recall non-white regulars.

“Can we please, please, please stop joking about this? At best, this has been really annoying since the second or third "big butt" week last semester. At worst, any confusion we create is not helping us bring in an audience.”
Who’s joking?

“This Friday and Saturday are your last chance to see Dreamwell's Production of "Waiting for Godot" at the Old Capitol Mall. Pat Keyes (you don't know him, but you should) is in it, and he says it's good. I'm going.”

Let’s all protest! “’Godot teaches bad manners!’”

2/21/2006 8:12 AM  
Anonymous hahn said...

>I’ve been avoiding naming off minority performers
>from the past, but I CAN recall non-white regulars.

I'm sure that if you named them I would feel like an absolute ass for not recalling them. Still, there have not been many.

2/21/2006 9:49 AM  
Anonymous Adam said...

>Jamal has a good rule: “If there’s a
>person that you would not make the joke in front
>of, you probably shouldn’t make the joke.”

I disagree, and this is one of the reasons I have never invited my parents to No Shame. There are also many worthwhile jokes I would not repeat to my four-year-old niece. The audience is part of the context that determines whether some humor is appropriate.

I do agree with the rule as it applies here. If there's a joke you wouldn't perform in front of a stranger with a different skin color, then you probably shouldn't make the joke in front of an audience including any strangers.

(I'm trying to figure out if I've lived by this rule or not.)

2/21/2006 11:13 AM  
Blogger Michael Tabor said...

"I do agree with the rule as it applies here. If there's a joke you wouldn't perform in front of a stranger with a different skin color, then you probably shouldn't make the joke in front of an audience including any strangers."

This is the spirit behind the rule, yes.

2/21/2006 11:29 AM  
Blogger Eli Wilkinson the First said...

You know what Adam? I agree with you, The Merchant of Venice does kinda suck... But you know what I don't like, the end of Henry V. Oh that makes me so mad. Or Richard the Thirds death in Richard III. If you wanna know why just ask!

2/21/2006 11:54 AM  
Blogger Eli Wilkinson the First said...

And in answer to your query from Friday night, for the most part I didn't like Love's Labour's Lost. But yet again it IS one of Bill Shakespears worst plays. In the theatrical definition of action, this play has none. Some of the songs didn't offer much, but I did like "lets misbehave" and that one with all the girls. But if you wanna see a worse version rent the 2000 movie version. Now usually I like Kenneth Branagh (His Henry V and Hamlet are like sex) but this one just stinks. and guess what? That version is ALSO a musical.

2/21/2006 11:58 AM  
Blogger Eli Wilkinson the First said...

Now my question is why donesn't the university do a work by Marlowe or Webster? They are both very good and Websters Flamineo from "The White Devil" is just as good, if not better in my opinion to Shakespeares Iago.

Oh and sorry I just keep posting. I just remember stuff I wanted to say after I clicked enter. Oops

2/21/2006 12:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is PATRICK by the way. i was having trouble with my blogging.

i have only one thing to say...

write what is in your heart and what is right for you.

and i guess if you do that, i can't fault you too terribly.

this is however NO SHAME.

but please stay true.

take time to write your pieces and really think about them. quality sometimes just comes in the time and preparation.

i agree with sean that all of you are talented and have a distinct voice. just try to write the best that you can. i think we've all gotten a bit lazy and frustrated.

that's why i took last week off. i clearly needed a break and also needed to spend more time at the drawing board. i will be there on friday positive and with new material.

i think we are all friends. so we shouldn't beat each other up. i know i am primarily guilty of this. i just exploded and i exploded on the blog. it is frustrating when no one comes to no shame. when i hear people talk about how shitty it is now. but....there is always the power to change.

work hard and it will be good.

no shame can be whatever you want it to be. there are only three rules and they aren't restrictive to personal voice.

you have all written excellent pieces before. let's latch onto that. also...some people feel they need to be there every week and write. i say if you don't have the chops for material one week, sit out.

also, it's fun to have other people perform your work. an eric piece may be completely different if aprille reads it or something.

sean...maybe shelton could do one of your pieces. hehehe.

ok. i'll see you all on friday. let's make it good. do it for your moms!

2/21/2006 12:07 PM  
Blogger Evan Schenck said...

"ok. i'll see you all on friday. let's make it good. do it for your moms!"

I'll be doing it for your mom, Patrick. Oooo. Actually I won't be there this Friday because it is one of the Fridays when I won't be there, but the following Friday is one of the Fridays when I will be present, so I hope it will go well.

Adam--
"Evan, I don't know you well, but you seem like a smart guy. I'm guessing this is the stupidest thing you've typed in months."

Adam, you and Michael are right, and I apologize for saying that--by which I mean that I apologize to Sean for obvious reasons, and I apologize to you for being stupid. I do not apologize to Michael, however, because he is my eternal nemesis because of that time he stole like, four of my French Fries and gobbled them up into his evil maw.

2/21/2006 2:29 PM  
Blogger timm said...

i have been removed from all of this hoopla of this semester, but this is too interesting to not say anything.

I just have a few general and maybe off topic comments.


What is the opinion towards no shame within the University theatre department? I want to say that "no shame" isn't regarded as "real" theatre, whatever that means but I'm not sure if that's the truth. in fact, i don't know why i even think that.

The university seems to have a pretty large and active theatre program, but yet a very small portion is involved with it even though (if i know my no shame history well enough - as I should considering the hours I spent studying for the No Shame Board test) it used to be almost all theatre students.

I think it would be interesting to figure out what has changed about No Shame to turn theatre majors off from it (if it's true they don't like it) also, it could help trying to get them involved with it more.

I think Patrick has a point about not feeling obligated to write something every week. I know that I've done pieces that I threw together at the last minute that could have been good (and/or better) although... no shame isn't supposed to be about perfection. we should expect to see some bad pieces because no shame is meant to be a forum for performers/writers to experiment and learn. Is it also a forum for slacking off? I guess so. i've done it, but maybe it shouldn't be... as much.


Also, maybe the time has something to do with low crowds. Not many people want to spend Friday night from 11 until 1 in a theatre when they could be out doing something else. What do people think of trying no shame earlier? or on a different day? Obviously there will probably be space issues, but does anyone thing a change in time/day would improve attendance? Or do people think no shame is too tied to the space, time, and day to be moved?

As far as big butt/no shame/ funny farts goes... well, my only concern is that it could possibly hurt attendence by confusing people. some people really had no idea it was no shame and thought it was simply big butt (which is hillarious). but then again, star wars is also known as "a new hope" or "episode four" so if it works for star wars it will probably work for us.


Patrick may have a point with writing stuff for other people. i've never done it... i probably should though but the best part of no shame is performing (let's be honest, we're all full of ourselves. somebody had a quote i think on the dvd about that - how you have to crave attention in order to perform at no shame) and it's the only way of ensuring that you get on stage. But, I guess it's something to consider.


what else. politically incorrect/racism/offensive stuff. it's been around forever, always will be.

I think there are a few key reasons to bring it up though.

1. when someone relies only on that type of humor (i'm looking at you chris rock and dave chapelle) because it just gets old. it's good performance because it has an impact, but hearing the same thing over and over again makes it lose its effect.

2. when someone is (or simply appears) insincere and seems to be trying to get a cheap laugh. maybe they were trying to make a social statement, but as an audience member if you are offended the author (should) want/s to know. not because s/he should feel bad and shouldn't write that type of piece, but because that particular delivery or setup or frame whatever didn't work. that type of criticism should be framed as to why it wasn't affective, not simply "i don't like any humor that deals with the issue of racism"

3. Humor is one of the most effective mediums for social commentary. 50% of the public (i made up that number) doesn't watch/read the news. why? because people want to be entertained. Eli and dave chapelle aren't the first people to use offensive humor to make social commentary. richard pryor before chapelle, lenny bruce before pryor, and probably more names than i'm not going to pretend that i know. but you'll also have people like gg allin whose claims to be an artist pushing boundaries, challenging our mindsets are suspect. (in my opinion)

alright. i'm bored. i hope you are all doing well, DC is good. i have more stories, none if which involve masseuses or escorts, but are still humorous nonetheless.

2/21/2006 3:02 PM  
Blogger Michael Tabor said...

"Also, maybe the time has something to do with low crowds. Not many people want to spend Friday night from 11 until 1 in a theatre when they could be out doing something else. What do people think of trying no shame earlier? or on a different day? Obviously there will probably be space issues, but does anyone thing a change in time/day would improve attendance? Or do people think no shame is too tied to the space, time, and day to be moved?"

I'm sure this is absolutely out of the question.

(1)I think it IS too tied to the space, time, and day to be moved, yes.

(2)No Shame has a legal contract with the theatre department for this day and time.

(3) No Shame would not be welcome ANY day of the week before 11PM. Rehersals and "real" shows would have the priority for theatre time. So...how many people do you think will show up to No Shame at 11PM on Wednesday?

2/21/2006 3:22 PM  
Anonymous Adam said...

Tim:
>What is the opinion towards no
>shame within the University theatre
>department?
I can't speak for any of theatre students and have never met most of the faculty, but I did talk to Professor Art Borreca a few weeks ago about other stuff, and No Shame came up. His sentiments were along the lines of No Shame being a good thing though he had not attended a show in years, puzzlement that not as many theatre students have been involved recently (perhaps because of the ten-minute festival and generally more local and university productions providing other outlets?), and uncertainty on how to encourage more departmental students to participate.
I take the fact that the department has tolerated us for the last 19 1/2 years as a sign that they consider some part of what we provide worthwile and don't mind the occasional publicity we bring.

Tim:
>Also, maybe the time has something to
>do with low crowds. . . What do
>people think of trying no shame
>earlier? or on a different day?
Are you fucking nuts?

2/21/2006 3:40 PM  
Blogger Evan Schenck said...

Tim--
"Patrick may have a point with writing stuff for other people."

Speaking of that, I wrote a piece just now that I think could be performed this Friday, in John Leigh fashion, except instead of a series that lingers on well past its welcome like leprosy or something, it would only be one piece. From the kind of humor it is I think Adam Hahn might be able to perform it most effectively.

2/21/2006 4:26 PM  
Blogger Eli Wilkinson the First said...

Now as a Theatre Major I can probably bring some light to the issue of why not so many theatre students attend. Now this does not say that all theatre majors fall into these, just the ones I've talked to (and I actually have talked to people about this before so I'm not pulling this out of my ass). SO Here they are and enjoy:

1. Alcohol and more. Now I know this does not cover ALL theatre majors its just that like 6 times now I've had people who agreed to do a skit with me skip out to get trashed or stoned. My arugment to this is, i know some people who go out lik 5-7 nights a week. Can you at least spare one night?!

2. Other shows. The University does put on a good number of shows and some people have told me that they would attend if they weren't so tired from a previous rehearsal/ show.

3. As for writers... well I know from my current playwriting II class that many writers that are my grade (soph)or lower are way full of themselves and think that No Shame is a waste of time and full of un-talented writers. They don't see it as a place to experiment/ test writing they have done. To some of them its too silly and not theatre in any way.

btw... I've read most of their writing and it sucks.

4. Other Conflicts. Like work and shit. But that goes for all people.

5. Apathy. Many of them don't know much about it besides the name and do not see it as a workshop like place. So they don't care.

6. This was a gf's case last semester, they didn't know enough people that went to No Shame. So they don't go for fear of being being at a strange new thing all alone.

7. Of course there are just those people who do not like it. Think of it in a negative light, whether its because of a piece that offended them, grossed them out, insulted their politics, was too childish, was the same thing they've seen hundreds of times before, etc...

8. Lack of growth. Both in crowd numbers / writers ability. Think about it, what happened to the Iowa Basketball team over the past few years. The student crowds shrunk and no one wanted to go and sit in an entire row by themselves. I think we may be having the same. Also. Lack of growth in writers. If someone (sorry Eric) always writes about sex then the audience sees that and so it turns them off. Thats one of the reasons I disliked the John leigh pieces last semester. Same thing over and over and over and over again.

9. because they suck...

Theres probably more reasons but I'm lazy... and Hungry.

But if you think about it those who are / were theatre majors AND attend are performers (Me, Patrick,Steve-O, Jessie, Shelton, Eric)

2/21/2006 6:18 PM  
Anonymous katy b. kool said...

Perhaps future posters* could be more informative, telling people they're welcome as attendees AND writers/performers.




*the paper kind of posters, not the blog kind.

2/21/2006 8:57 PM  
Blogger Eli Wilkinson the First said...

Yeah and if we did that then we wouldn't have to worry about multiple pieces from one writer!

2/21/2006 9:01 PM  
Anonymous Eric said...

My insane schedule has only now allowed me the time to get in on this conversation, which I've been itching to do, especially since every conversation about what's wrong with No Shame inevitably refers to me. It's nice to know I've made an impact.
I am willing to accept some responsibility for the shrinking crowds. I know for a fact that after my now infamous viking sketch at the first show of the year (which was standing room only), several people said they would never come back to No Shame. They probably told their friends and negative word of mouth has been working against us. The subject matter of most of my pieces last semester was both offensive and rather predictable, and I'm sure people got tired of seeing the same thing.
I know most of my work is variations on themes of sex, loneliness, and death (which I'm sure any Freudians in the audience enjoy), but I go with what I've got and don't censor myself. This is NO SHAME Theatre, after all. That said, the only time I have done something purely for shock value is "Frustrated Self Indulgence," and I wasn't happy with the result. Almost everything else I do is meant to be ironic and satirical, but not everyone gets my sense of humor.
Which brings me to an issue I've been thinking about for No Shame in general. Several of us have done pieces where we say in not so many words (or sometimes in so many words) that the audience doesn't understand us or appreciate what we're doing. To the audience, it can come off like we're regarding them with contempt, and no one is going to sit through a show where they feel alienated. I completely understand the frustration of having your work misunderstood or derided, but we do have to consider the audience's feelings in this situation as well. Also, as much as I enjoy the inside jokes we in the regular No Shame crowd have, I think we've been overdoing it lately. Someone who doesn't come to every show is going to feel left out of the loop.
As for us performers and the material we use, we have to stick to our guns and do what feels right for us. No Shame has taught me to have faith in myself and not be afraid of failing. I know I'm not winning any popularity contests, but I never try to pander to the audience. Besides, they'd probably see through it and think I'm even more insincere than they already do. No Shame is supposed to push the envelope and challenge the audience, and we should never feel like we have to walk on eggshells. That's not saying everyone should do the kind of things I do (based on prevailing sentiments, the audience for that would be very small indeed). I'm saying that the only limitations at No Shame are originality, time, and phsyical destructiveness, and we should go with whatever ideas we have within those parameters. That may sound contradictory to what I said before about thinking of the audience, but I think there's a balance between the two poles that each of us has to find as individual performers.
Okay, I've gone on long enough. I do like the fact we can all share our honest opinions here, even if we don't always agree. Open communication will help us make improvements on- and off-stage.

2/21/2006 10:31 PM  
Anonymous Adam said...

Katy:
>Perhaps future posters* could be more
>informative, telling people they're
>welcome as attendees AND
>writers/performers.

I hope that was achieved with our latest batch. (Those things are up, right? I never go to the dorms or ride the Cambus.) There are two designs: "beauty and undershirts", which is a general appeal for attendance, and "friends forever", which also details the procedure for getting into the show.

That reminds me, any feedback on the posters, suggestions or designs for future ad campaigns, or good postering locations (keep in mind we generally get more bang for our shoeleather having the University distribute them that trying to paper downtown) would be appreciated.

2/22/2006 12:33 AM  
Blogger Eli Wilkinson the First said...

I saw one in the Theatre Arts hall today. Unfortuneatly not in the other 2 halls I was in. oh well maybe their RA is just lazy. I will be doing a poster campaign tomorrow and/or thursday where I will be walking around and putting a poster where ever I see fit. If you wish to assist me just give me a call at (and I know this is dangerous) 319-325-5299. Note I usually do not answer to unknown numbers but if you leave a message I'll get back to you asap. thanks

2/22/2006 2:05 AM  
Anonymous baty kaggs said...

Ohh...I'm in Currier and haven't seen any new posters, which could mean that they're not up, they're in bad places, or I'm an unobservant person.

2/22/2006 2:09 AM  
Anonymous kathryn elizabeth baggs said...

Eli, you snuck in that comment from right under my nose. Way to get the fiftieth comment, jeeeeez.

I could put up posters Thursday eve-a-ning.

2/22/2006 2:14 AM  
Blogger Eli Wilkinson the First said...

Actually Katy you got the 50th. I was 49th. Your second of two comments there was 51 so yeah... way to get the 50th post.

2/22/2006 5:10 PM  
Anonymous katy brags said...

And 53rd!

2/22/2006 8:04 PM  
Blogger ibm5_25 said...

Going for 54th, two things:
1. Why isn't No Shame listed in 80 Hours anymore? Mightn't that do something for attendance?
2. Eric has a good point--cut down on the inside jokes. While they're funny for us, they not only aren't funny for the outsiders that we're trying to impress (so they'll come back etc.), but it makes (as I think Eric said) them feel like outsiders. That is one of the fastest ways to turn people off.

2/23/2006 4:58 PM  
Blogger ibm5_25 said...

Oh yeah, I forgot to say this before I hit "login and publish", but I personally am cutting the following out of my skit for this week (assuming I ever get it done...):
"As Shelton says...we must think of the CHILDREN"

"Eric: ...and Michael won't like it--he doesn't like pieces about pieces.
Nick: Well Michael knows where he can stuff it.
Eric: Because you're not fucking around
Nick: Exactly"

And some other stuff I can't remember/never wrote down.

While it might be funny for us, it wouldn't be for anyone else. Because I'm publishing my scripts online, I'm trying to write this week with an eye towards other people being able to perform them and enjoy them.

I think I just wrote a very concieted post demonstrating my idocy and explaining to everyone what an inside joke is even though they already know.

2/23/2006 5:08 PM  
Blogger Leslie said...

hello, all, I am again speaking from Ireland, but I thought I'd pipe up on the subject of the theatre major's point of view.

No Shame is seen by most theatre majors I talk to as a strange undergrowth of inside jokes (thus, the "no shame crowd"). It's a very hard scene to break into -- I speak from personal experience as well. It really is intimidating to walk into the lounge at 10:00 and have to sit around making small talk for half an hour with people you don't know who ALL know each other and are a little off-the-wall to begin with.

I'm not saying we should cut down the craziness, just that theatre majors can be intimidated as well -- we're not all huge egotistical snobs, or at least I hope not.

2/23/2006 7:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been in Azerbaijan all week, so I figured I'd just post a little note saying YES Michael, I think your points would be more valid if you were Aprille or Jamal or even Michael Tabor, and I also think the name of the theatre should be changed to Minority Farts Theatre, or perhaps Sexism Butt. Go to my website (www.drpepper.com) to read my scripts, which are licensed by the Creative Commas, and jeez people, just write what's in your hearts.

2/23/2006 10:13 PM  
Blogger Evan Schenck said...

"It's a very hard scene to break into -- I speak from personal experience as well. It really is intimidating to walk into the lounge at 10:00 and have to sit around making small talk for half an hour with people you don't know who ALL know each other and are a little off-the-wall to begin with."

Yes, I agree.

2/23/2006 11:14 PM  
Blogger Eli Wilkinson the First said...

Just "off the wall to begin with"? Ha!

2/24/2006 1:31 AM  
Blogger Eli Wilkinson the First said...

As a famous play and I think it fits for many situations brought up on this blog. It reads "Madness in great ones must not unwatch'd go."



What play is it from? And Adam, you can't answer.

2/24/2006 1:37 AM  
Blogger cool_jesse said...

I hate everything! I'm whiny and needy! I like to be on stage but only if everyone agrees I'm the bestest most funniest ever! Blah! Blah! Blah!






It's NO SHAME. People, we try things and they work or they don't. Is there really any need to be so UGH!!!!!!!!!!!? Come on, we were all new writers at one time or another. For you younger people, trust me it was a million times more intimidating 4 or 5 years ago than it is now. We're all pretty friendly folks, who are generally very accepting and encouraging.

STOP APOLOGIZING FOR YOUR PIECE!!!!!!!!!!!!! If someone doesn't like it, that's there problem. Nobody likes every piece at No Shame every night. That's the way it works. Taking risks is part of the fun. STOP APOLOGIZING FOR YOUR PIECE!!!!!!!!!!!


Also, the appeal of No Shame tends to wax and wane. Sometimes the crowd does get small, but it just gives all a reason to try and up our own standards; to outdo ourselves. Yes, it does get stale sometimes, but almost always afterwards, the writers find new ways to reinvent the attitude and appeal of No Shame and give a new audience a fresh perspective. Inside jokes and horribly offensive humor and all that other crap are always going to pop up now and again - it's the nature of the beast. However, it's no reason for us all to start bickering over who has the biggest dick (it's the black guy)----------instead we should be busy trying to figure out how to make our jokes even more insidier and further alienate the remaining 6 audience members. Trust me, they'll laugh if you add an Angelina Jolie rape scene next week.

2/24/2006 4:51 AM  
Blogger cool_jesse said...

PS-----Adam your posters wouldn't suck so much if you had more pictures of Satan forcing queer eskimos to rape dead mangled puppies.




Also, the word "ketchup" should have been featured more prominently on both designs.

2/24/2006 4:54 AM  
Anonymous Mirri said...

Holy shit. where have I been? I'm pleased that people are actually considering teh audience more now, at least a little. I used to bring people to no shame all the time but they all politly declined after awhile cause they said it seemed like a lot of "in humor" they couldn't always understand and a lot of people seemed to try to shock just to shock. I know I wrote a lot of shitty skits for awhile and a lot of you definately are better at this thing than I, but I think that until we do consider the audience a little more, we're not goign to be bringing in anyone new ever and that is just bad.

2/25/2006 6:09 PM  

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