Theatre 

Opening week

An Adult Evening with Shel Silverstein
All-girl performance art troupe The Bluestockings present 10 short plays based on the work of beloved children's author Shel Silverstein—but by the sound of it, these plays won't be appropriate for the kiddies. Theater! Theatre!, 3430 SE Belmont, 306-0870, Thurs-Sat 10:30 pm, $12

Hairspray
Yes, this musical really is based on the John Waters' film about a fat girl who loves to dance. Keller Auditorium, 222 SW Clay, 222-5538, Opens Tues, runs Tues-Fri 7:30 pm, Sat 2 pm, 7:20 pm, Sunday 1 pm, 6:30 pm, $25-75

One Week Only

Kick The Squirrel Third Anniversary
Comedy troupe Kick the Squirrel celebrates their third birthday with a night of stand-up, music, and improv. Featuring musical guest Crossroot. Clinton Street Theater, 2522 SE Clinton, 238-8899, Fri 9 pm, $8

Closing This Week

Tao Soup
Scott Kelman and the Drunken Monkeys of Brooklyn Bay explore the Tao via music, movement, and dance. Brooklyn Bay, 1825 SE Franklin, Bay K, 777-5879, Fri-Sat 8 pm, $12-15

The Lonesome West
The professional super-company, Third Rail Repertory, presents Martin McDonagh's The Lonesome West. Third Rail resident director Slayden Scott guides his cast with an even hand; he has a great script and knows not to interfere with it. The British McDonagh, still in his 30s, is a prodigious writer—clever and cruel and loving and dark and terribly sad. Watching this wonderful production of his wonderful play is like slipping into a hot bubble bath. The pain eases, the muscles relax, and a notion floats into the mind on a cloud of blissful relief: "Yes. It can be done in Portland. It really can." JWS Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center, 5340 N Interstate, 235-1101, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, Sun 2 pm, $15-20

Current Runs

Kimberly Akimbo
The Portland Actors Conservatory presents a dark comedy about a teenaged girl who has a rare condition which causes her body to age faster than it should. Cue hilarity and soul-searching. Firehouse Theater, 1436 SW Montgomery, 774-0997, Thurs 7 pm, Fri-Sat 8 pm, $15-25

Silence
Julie Akers directs Moira Buffini's play which is described in the press release thusly: "Amid the chaos of Viking raids and the end of the millennium panic, Silence, the young Lord of Cumbria, is forced to marry a feisty French princess at the behest of the King." Back Door Theater, 4319 SE Hawthorne, 784-7316, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, $15-18

The Trial
From La Bodega Productions, an adaptation of Kafka's chilling story which finds parallels to our current judicial system. Theater! Theatre!, 3430 SE Belmont, 306-0870, Thurs-Sun, 8 pm, $12-15

Theater District
ART's new show has a compelling claim to fame, at least to anyone who was ever a teenager in the '90s: It was penned by Richard Kramer, a television writer best known as the creator of My So-Called Life. It's unsurprising, then, that Theater District offers a worldview which has more in common with TV than with most of the contemporary theater to grace Portland stages. The difference is that underneath Theater District's glossy veneer of clichés and glib one-liners is an undeniable warmth that makes up for the shortcoming of conventionality. AH Artists Repertory Theatre, 1516 SW Alder, 241-1278, Thurs 7 pm, Fri-Sat 8 pm, Sun 2 pm, 7 pm, $15-40

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