Opening This Week

THIRST
The enigmatic Jonathan Walters presents a new work, a signature Hand2Mouth blend of movement, song, and imagery that depicts a mythical world in which two women wrestle with wind, fire, and madness, amongst other things. Hand2Mouth at Performance Works, 4625 SE 67th, 235-5284, Opens Fri, runs Thurs-Sat 8 pm, through Dec 14, $7-$10

One Week Only

* Cabaret Fundraiser
The up and coming Fever Theater company presents a night of acrobatics, music, and general craziness to raise money for their work-in-progress, Sneaky Little Armageddons. Fever Theater, 107 SE Washington (in the B & O Warehouse), 233-4420, Sat 8 pm, $5-10 donation

* Measure for Measure
Love 'em or hate 'em, you have to concede that those Brits can ACT. Tonight a very cool event: Members from London's awesome Royal National Theatre performing Measure for Measure, one of Shakespeare's darkest, weirdest plays. PSU Theater Dept, at Lincoln Hall, Portland State University, 1620 SW Park Ave, 725-3307, Thurs-Sat 7:30 pm, $20.50-25.50

Closing This Week

* Bat Boy
It hardly matters that Frankenstein, The Elephant Man, and about a million more movies/books/plays/video games have plucked the freak-amongst-humans string. Bat Boy rips off its sources gleefully, tearing into cardboard characters and melodrama with savage delight. Portland Center Stage's production bulges with suitably campy performances. More than half the cast gets to play multiple roles, switching back and forth between different variations of the mountainside hillbillies Bat Boy must face. Singing ability is inconsistent, but it's easy to overlook because everyone's comic timing is topnotch. Don't expect the catchiest showtunes you've ever heard, but expect a damn fun time all the same. JWS Portland Center Stage, 1111 SW Broadway, 274-6588, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, Sun, Tues-Wed 7 pm, Sun 2 pm, through Nov 23, $16-51

Current Runs

* A Moon for the Misbegotten
Tim True plays the late Eugene O'Neill's favorite edified lush, James Tyrone, with affected restraint. His words are tentative; he wants to believe what he's saying, but he's not sure if he can. Sermol counters with a fierce focus; a scrutinizing of every word True says in desperate search of a sentiment she can lean on. It's a deeply layered portrayal of a tough, rural woman who's made a life out of hiding her vulnerabilities. JWS Coho Theatre, 2257 NW Raleigh, 220-2646, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, Sun 2 pm, through Nov 29, $18-20

Appalachian Ebeneezer
Dickens meets coal-mining in this Depression-era re-staging of the holiday classic A Christmas Carol. Fans of the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack will "dig" it. Don't "mined" if we do. Heh. Artists Repertory Theatre, 1516 SW Alder St, 241-1278, Tues-Thurs, Sun 7 pm, Fri-Sat 8 pm, Sun 2 pm, through Dec 23 , $15-30

Brilliant Traces
Ever wondered what would happen if a commitment-phobic bride got trapped in a snowbound Alaskan cabin with a reclusive oil rig chief? Well now you can find out in Cindy Lou Johnson's play, put on by e3 Productions and director Julie Akers. e3 Productions at the Electric Company, 2512 SE Gladstone, Suite 200, 232-5955, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, Sun 2 pm, through Dec 6, $15

Rumi
The suddenly very active Toad City presents an exploration of "the sensual celebration and spiritually provocative work of Rumi." It's hard to tell if they're being serious or not, but Sowelu all-star Lorraine Bahr is directing, so either way, it should be at least interesting. Toad City Productions, at the Back Door, 4321 SE Hawthorne, 736-1027, Fri-Sat 8 pm, through Dec 20, $10-12

Comedy/Improv

* Antiques Improv Show
The Brody revives its popular riff on the Antiques Road Show, and for good reason. The Antiques Improv Show's blend of audience participation and object "appraisals" is one of the most fun and innovative the company has ever come up with. Brody Theater, 1904 NW 27th Ave, 224-0688, Fri-Sat 8 pm, through Dec 20, $12

* The Bard
A late-night show featuring improvised songs, dances, and entire musical production numbers. Cool! Brody Theater, 1904 NW 27th Ave, 224-0688, Sat 10:30 pm, through Dec 13, $9

Nun Sequitur
Nun comedy is as tired as Grandpa's penis wrinkles (priest humor is where it's at these days), and yet this late-night habit-fest has some stellar actresses involved: Gail Hebert and Kelly Hatfield. Salvage Yard Productions, at the Back Door Theater, 4319 SE Hawthorne , 239-5174, Fri-Sat 10:45 pm, through Dec 13

Attendance Is Mandatory
A one-man show starring local improv guy Reuben Nisenfeld, who will use the format of a government propaganda film to, we assume, mock the idea of government propaganda. Toad City Productions, at the Back Door, 4321 SE Hawthorne, 736-1027, Thurs 8 pm, through Dec 18, $7-9

Run Tony Run
Long form improv based on the movie Run Lola Run. Sounds different, at least. Your Other Left, at the Comedy Sportz Arena, 1963 NW Kearney, 236-8888, Fri 10 pm, $5

Big Improv La La La
The occasional improv group does its Thanksgiving thing, and bids farewell to member Shelley Six. Brainwaves, at the Hollywood Theater, 4122 NE Sandy, 796-9550, Fri-Sat 8 pm, through Nov 29, $12