Your fifteen minutes of fame are about to begin. Lights up. You're on. This is not a dress rehearsal. Marching onstage, blood thumping in your eardrums, throat dry, palms clammy, you find your light, take a breath, shape your lips to carry the first sounds of your performance. "To be or not to be: That is the question." The words flow from you effortlessly before the crowd of lounge lizards assembled at the tables.
You're live -- in Cutler Ridge -- pouring out your heart in Hamlet's ponderously angry soliloquy. You're warm and pulsing, with a voice like Richard Burton's resonating with conviction. "For who would bear the whips and scorns of TIME," you roar at the gods and ghosts that hover above you. You will not be a pawn to the fates, but then again, you just may be helpless to your destiny. Oh the folly, ahh the horror of it all.
You ARE Hamlet, the melancholy prince of Denmark, the vain and vapid everyman drowning in layers of human angst and fear of the unknown. You speak, knowing that the Card Sound Bridge is a short drive away if in frustration you need to end it all.
You're acting! You're really acting! Onstage! In front of people! Those tears are real, you note, as you come to the conclusion: "Thus, conscience does make cowards of us ALL," you sweep your arms in a grand gesture of closure. You are ON FIRE!
You wind down to the last few lines. The light-board operator awaits his cue. Uttering "Nymph, in thy orisons/Be all my sins remembered," you cast a penetrating gaze into the light, then blackout. Silence. You hear the ring of the cash register at the bar. From the back corner table, the sound of ice clinking in some fat lady's Long Island iced tea. At last applause, scattered claps of hands like lazy drops of rain falling on a river.
Next up, Javier from Uruguay and his juggling Chihuahuas.
If you have a tough act to sell, chances are you'll be able to perform it at No Shame Theatre, a weekly event at the Pelican's Nest Restaurant in South Miami-Dade. The show accepts all acts up to five minutes, as long as they don't involve any fire. David Duncan, the whole shebang's director, got inspired to bring live theater to Cutler Ridge when the scripts he had written were rejected at several theater festivals.
But like all great artistes, rejection doesn't stop an inspired message. Starting Thursday the No Shames will feature a string of five-minute acts -- from comedy skits to can-can dancing -- and whoever is ready and able will be designated to perform. In fact you can register to jump onstage the night of the show. Just bring a script of your act, Duncan requests.
In the spirit of true community theater, this show is free. There is no cover, no minimum. Just a group of hams hanging out in Cutler Ridge, beginning their quests for stardom.