Closing This Week

• Raindog Theater
PRIVATE EYES • Portland Actors Conservatory

One Week Only

GODDESS OF THE CASCADES • Barefoot Theater Company
THE FIASCO • Salvage Yard Productions, at the Back Door Theater

Opening & Current Runs

Alice in Wonderland
NORTHWEST CHILDREN'S THEATER, 1819 NW Everett St, 222-4480, Fri, 7 pm, Sat, 2 and 7 pm

Antiques Improv Show
The latest variation in the Brody's improv hijack focuses on attributing stories from old objects. Spectators are encouraged to bring their own objects with the reward of an admission discount. A thinly veiled scheme to decorate the Brody? The Merc wants to know. BRODY THEATER, 1904 NW 27 Ave, 224-0688, Fridays,10:30 pm, $6

*Avoid Walking Backwards
The Raindog Playwrights Project plays host to this production contemplating communication, power politics, and much else (artistic director Jonathan Walters spent his summer vacation studying Polish theater). Closing night will be a benefit, with a jazz band after the play. RAINDOG THEATER, 8638 N Lombard St, 287-8561, Thur-Sat 8 pm, $4-10

Betsy's in the Kitchen
Betsy's in the Kitchen is a dizzyingly complicated improvisation, with eight cast members spinning off a three- act play. BRODY THEATER, 1904 NW 27 Ave, 224-0688, Fridays, 8 pm, through June 30, $8

Curse of the Starving Class
Sam Shepard, a staple of Portland theater for decades, is a good standby resource for companies in a holding pattern, seeking grants, or simply exploring Shepard's masculine, neo-Western world. This time around Lani Miller, Tom Moorman, and Lindsay Thomas take the boards under the direction of Matt Russell. PAULA PRODUCTIONS, AT THE JACK OAKES THEATER, 2820 NE Sandy Blvd, 238-9692, Thur-Sat, 8 pm, through June 24, $10

The Elephant
Life after Hiroshima, specifically in and around a hospital set up after the blast, as chronicled by playwright Betsuyaku Minoru in a play from 1962, and enacted by MaryJo AbiNader, Phil Duong, and Brian Kameoka, under the direction of Lisa Abbott. BRIDGE CITY PRODUCTIONS, AT THE IFCC, 5340 N Interstate Ave, 788-8357, Fri-Sat, 8 pm, Sun, 2 pm, through June 24, $8-12

Theater doesn't get much more absurd, or depressing, then in the hands of Samuel Beckett. In this final production from the Other Side theater, director Sean Doran and his cast are faithful to Beckett's intentions, and while the play seems nothing more than a fit of post-apocalyptic malingering, it is actually quite funny. Beckett is notoriously demanding, and the cast, with Tom Galup as Clov, the only mobile member of the cast, form a chamber piece with four instruments that don't work. BACKDOOR THEATER, 4319 SE Hawthorne Blvd, 938-1482, Thurs-Sat, 8 pm, through June 25, $5-7.50

An Evening with Alan Ball
Four one-acts by the sitcom writer-turned-Academy Award- winning screenwriter for American Beauty. CALL IN SICK PRODUCTIONS, AT THE RUSSELL STREET THEATER, 116 NE Russell St, 232-4382, Fri-Sat, 10:30 pm, through July 1, $8

Eyes Right
Three different intertwined stories emerge and blend as performers improvise among themselves and-yikes-with audience members. BRODY THEATER, 1904 NW 27 Ave, 224-0688, Fridays, 8 pm, through June, $8

The Fiasco
Performers Emily Stone and James Moore play themselves in this exploration of the definition of theater. SALVAGE YARD PRODUCTIONS, AT THE BACK DOOR THEATER, 4319 SE Hawthorne Blvd, 235-8779, Thur-Fri, June 16-17, 10 pm, $5

*Frogs, Lizards, Orbs and Slinkys
Penguins playing musical chairs, two-faced crocodiles and paper bags on stage? Well, if it's good enough for New York City, we suppose it's good enough for us. Hometown-artists-made-good Imago Theater brings Frogs, Lizards, Orbs and Slinkys home to Portland after a smash run in NYC, and we couldn't be more pleased. If you're looking for fun, fresh performance, this is definitely the production to see. IMAGO THEATER, 17 SE 8 Ave, 231-9581, Fri 7:30, Sat 1:30 & 7:30, Sun 1:30 & 5:30, extended through June 25, $16 adults, $13 students/seniors, $9 kids

Goddess of the Cascades
Only in the Northwest. Keven Bradley blends Brazilian dance, eco-mysticism, and elements of Apocalypse Now in this musical comedy . Sex and Love in Portland concerns the trek of an agent (Bradley) for a San Francisco conglomerate called Greed Corporation to investigate problems with a newly-purchased resort at Detroit Lake. Pink Martini's Brian Davis and Derek Rieth provide musical direction, with terpsichorean by the dance group Eatucada. BAREFOOT THEATER COMPANY, 2120 SE 13 Ave, 407-5514, June 15-18, 8 pm, $10

Late Nite Catechism
Supposedly, a popular, recent trend in local theater is interactive plays. Here is one about a parochial school nun. CLOUD 9 PRODUCTIONS AT THE MAIN STREET THEATER, 904 SW Main St, 790-2787, Thur-Fri, 8 pm, Sat, 2 and 8 pm, Sun, 7 pm, through July 31, $24.50 to $29.50

Lion in the Street
Canadian playwright Judith Thompson's play about a little girl who comes back and haunts her old neighborhood might sound a lot like the movie The Sixth Sense, but it's a little more intellectually ambitious, particularly when the cast of seven play 29 different characters. THEATER VERTIGO AT THE RUSSELL STREET THEATER, 116 North Russell, Thurs-Sat, 8 pm, through July 1, $10-12

The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told
We love playwright Paul Rudnick in his guise as Libby Waxman Gelmer in Premiere magazine. But will we love his campy take on theology when it is in the clutches of Don. L Horn, the artistic director of Triangle Productions!? TRIANGLE PRODUCTIONS! AT THEATER! THEATER!, 3430 SE Belmont St, 239-5919, Thurs-Sat, 8 pm, $15-$17

No Mercy
Portland standby Ted Roisum joins Jean Miller and Scott Coopwood in director Jane Unger's production of Constance Congdon's play. PROFILE THEATER PROJECT, AT THE STARK RAVING THEATER, 3430 SE Belmont St, 242-0080, Thur-Sat, 8 pm Sun, 2 pm, Call for ticket prices

Private Eyes
Psychotherapy, the theater, wit, infidelity, and mystery are the components of this play by Stephen Dietz. Director Bruce Burkhartsmeier leads a student cast of five aspiring thespians that includes Zero Feeney and Siobhan Charlesworth Caverly. PORTLAND ACTORS CONSERVATORY, 1436 SW Montgomery St, 274-1717, Wed-Thur 7 pm, Fri-Sat 8 pm, Sun 2 pm, through June 18, $17-$15, students and seniors

It costs a lot to put on a circus, it's not easy, and somebody has to pay for it. That person is you, if you want to enjoy contortionists, high wire acts, and other mundanities of the big top tricked up as high class performance art. CIRQUE DU SOLEIL AT THE GRAND CHAPITEAU, Under the Marquam Bridge, 800-678-5440, Fri, 8 pm, Sat 4 pm and 8 pm, Sun 1 pm and 5 pm, Tues-Thurs, 8 pm, $27-$150

Just one of several musicals derived from the films of the great Billy Wilder, this one from Some Like it Hot, which, as we all remember, is about two jazz musicians on the run after witnessing the St. Valentine's Day Massacre. The Sugar of the title is the Marilyn Monroe part, played here by Lindsay Michelet, under the direction of Greg Tamblyn. LAKEWOOD THEATER COMPANY AT LAKEWOOD THEATER FOR THE ARTS, 368 S State St, 635-3901, Thur-Sat, 8 pm, Sun, 7 pm, through June 24, $20

Director Allen Nause mounts this play by Margaret Edson about a professor coping with cancer, starring Vanna O'Brien and JoAnn Johnson. ARTISTS REPERTORY THEATER, 1516 SW Alder St, 241-1278, Thur, 7 pm, Fri-Sat, 8 pm, Sun, 2 pm Through June 25, $15-25