Bottom Left: No Shame's Jeff Geiger.
Conversing with Jeff Geiger
is an object lesson in the power of pure enthusiasm.
As artistic director of No Shame Eugene, Geiger is a tireless advocate for the sort of populist, no-holds-barred participation in art that defines his outfit, which is less theatrical troupe than a renegade vaudeville venue in which anyone can participate.
No Shame Theater
, as Geiger
describes it, approaches the planned chaos of flash mobs, where minimal rules harness maximum creativity.
"We're much more of an intentionally community theater," Geiger
says of No Shame
Also on tap is music by Betty and the Boy as well as performances by Eugene Ballet Company
, Oregon Contemporary Theatre and Eugene Opera, all of whom were "challenged" to show up, Geiger
explains with a smile.
"It's big," he
says of the celebration.
"It's kind of cool, thematically, because the whole thing is based on five-minute performances."
In fact, only three rules govern the madness that is No Shame Theater
: All works must be original; all works must be under five minutes; and no breaking anything, "including the wall," Geiger jokes.
"It's an unjuried, uncensored show," Geiger
says, adding that the whole thing has a classic "late-night" format similar to Saturday Night Live or Chicago's Second City.
"It's the first 15 pieces," he
adds of the monthly selection of live acts.
, who participated in No Shame's original location in Iowa City, says the theater "was born in scrappy opposition" to the workshop show.
"They basically decided they wanted something that was completely accessible," he
says one of the things that makes No Shame Eugene special is the early starting time at 7:30 pm, as well as the fact that performances are all-ages and free.
"Our operating budget is like a $1,000 a year," he
Also, the show is divided into two parts: The first half is G-rated or family friendly, with the second half dedicated to more adult or PG-13 material, and signaled by the menacing theme from the movie Jaws.
calls this the "pre-shark and post-shark" split, during which "the kids just wash out of the room" as the more outre acts take the stage.
The shark, by the way - along with perennial No Shamer Jesse Wells, the "Mad Viking" - has become the informal mascot of No Shame
, represented by several performers stalking the stage and attacking folks with shark masks perched atop their heads.
As build-up to the five-year anniversary, shark mobs have been showing up around the city at places like the Valley River footbridge and the new WJ Skatepark.
The Eugene chapter of No Shame
got its start when Geiger
, along with fellow writers Tamathy Howald and Mike Anderson, began holding Thursday workshops in 2008, at the Tango Center on Broadway