Opening This Week

A Midsummer Night's Dream
Shakespeare's greatest acid trip. Tygres Heart Shakespeare Company, 1111 SW Broadway, 288-8400, Opens Fri, Thurs 7 pm, Fri-Sat 8 pm, Sat-Sun 2 pm, through May 19, $11-36

What the Butler Saw
Farce about a British psychiatrist who runs an asylum and tries to keep up with the demands of his sexually frustrated wife. Let's all pray that terrible fake British accents will NOT be utilized. Triangle Productions, at Theater! Theatre!, 3430 SE Belmont, 239-5919, Opens Fri, Thurs 7:30 pm, Fri-Sat 8 pm, Sun 5 pm, through May 25, $15-19

One Week Only

ZAPPED
The world of comics and animation portrayed through the world of contemporary dance. BodyVox Dance Studio, 1300 NW Northrup , 229-0627, Fri-Sun 8 pm, Sun 2 pm, $22.50-31.50

Spalding Gray's Morning, Noon, and Night
Don't miss if possible. Gray is one of the most fascinating solo performers you will ever see. PICA, at the Tiffany Center, 1410 SW Morrison, 242-1419, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, $20-23

Closing This Week

* Chainsaw Spaceman
Last chance to see this fantastic show. John Hoskins and Loren Breen understand that the best comedy is bred out of characters, not situations. The characters that populate their sketch comedy are not playing the crowd for laughs, but are examining themselves and their problems with real concern and sincerity. It is this sincerity that makes characters, like the farmers who are obsessed with their power tools and the cockney good ol' boys obsessed with the "wee baby Jesus," so very, very funny. One doesn't laugh AT these people, (an expression of hate), one laughs WITH these people, (an expression of love). I love the characters Hoskins and Breen have created. I love Hoskins and Breen. Hoskins & Breen, at CoHo Theater, 2257 NW Raleigh, 242-0202, Fri-Sat 10:30 pm, through April 20, $10

Chocolate Confessions
A lame-sounding assortment of rarely heard show tunes and monologues about chocolate. There is, however, actual wine and chocolate included in the price of admission. The Old Church, 1422 SW 11th, 224-8499, Fri-Sat 8 pm, through April 20, $15

Living With HIV
The third edition of the "Performing Wellness" series is theatrical expression of a fairly self-explanatory nature. IFCC, 5340 N Interstate Ave, 823-4322, Sun-Mon 7 pm, Tues 9:45 am, through April 23, $8

Mall America
After surviving a random shooting spree outside of the biggest mall in the world, the traumatized Allison (Holly Spencer) tries to get her life back together. This volatile material has been given a treatment by playwright Peter Sagal that is almost slick in its professionalism. Sagal avoids all pathos with characters that are so witty and articulate, they seem removed from the tragedy that has affected their lives. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it is a slightly dry thing. The script and Coho's production of it is very tight and very crisp, but it's also very clinical; it lacks the pure feeling that one would expect to take away from a story that holds so much sadness and relevance. CoHo Theatre, 2257 NW Raleigh, 220-2646, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, Sun 2 pm, through April 20, $13-15

* Some Explicit Polaroids
Rarely has a mediocre play been staged so well. Director Barry Hunt's staging of Mark Ravenhill's meditation on AIDS, drug use, and politics is loaded with gorgeous technical effects, including one of the more innovative set designs in recent, independent, Portland-theater memory. A wall of silk screens divides the stage into two parts, a device that works on a practical level--locations change in seconds simply by placing a screen in front of a room--and on a symbolic level--explicit scenes of promiscuity and excess are out in the open while scenes of pure, unaltered intimacy between characters are masked. It's a design so captivating that the play itself, which is really nothing more than some cardboard caricatures representing pseudo-philosophical ideas, takes a backseat. Still worth seeing anyway, if only for the sensual titillation, and for some fine performances by Lorraine Bahr and Sean Skvarka. Sowelu Theater at the Back Door, 4319 SE Hawthorne Blvd, 230-2090, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, Sun 4 pm, through April 20, $7-15

Current Runs

A Bicycle Country
Three friends build a raft to escape poverty-riddled Cuba. The Miracle Theater, 525 SE Stark Street, 236-7253, Thurs 7:30 pm, Fri-Sat 8 pm, through May 11, $15

* Dinner With Friends
The idea that the happiest looking couples may be hiding something dark from the world and from themselves is hardly original, but playwright Donald Marguiles has given it a fresh spin by using a divorce between not-so-happy couple Tom and Beth as a catalyst for self-analysis between supposedly-happy couple, Gabe and Karen. ART's two and a half hour production of this premise never grows tiresome thanks to Marguiles' insightful dialogue and some fine performances from all four cast members. Artists Repertory Theater, 1516 SW Alder St, 241-1278, Tues-Thurs 7 pm, Fri-Sat 8 pm, Sun 2 pm, through April 28, $15-28

Don't Dress For Dinner
French farce about a man who plans a birthday party for his mistress while his wife is away. Sylvia's Class Act Dinner Theater, 5115 NE Sandy Blvd, 288-6828, Thurs-Sat 6:15 pm, Sun 5:15 pm and 11:30 am, through June 1, $28.95-33.95 (includes dinner)

Fifty Infants
A concert of new and repertory work from Mary Oslund and her merry crew. Oslund & Company, at Conduit Dance Studio, 918 SW Yamhill, 221-5857, Fri-Sun 8:30 pm, through April 28, $12-13

Saved to Blasted
Lightbox continues its string of readings by contemporary British playwrights. This week's featured text is Caryl Churchill's Far Away. Lightbox Studio, 1306 NW Hoyt, Suite 407, 231-0839, Thurs 7 pm, free

That's Infotainment
Improv that is one-half documentary and one-half fictional scenes inspired by the documentary. Brody Theater, 1904 NW 27th Ave, 224-0688, Fri-Sat 8 pm, through April 27, $10

The Country Club
From the author of the pretty cool As Bees in Honey Drown comes this story of an emotionally fragile divorcee's journey back to her hometown and the country club of her youth. Portland Actors Conservatory, at the Firehouse Theater, 1436 SW Montgomery St, 274-1717, Thurs 7 pm, Fri-Sat 8 pm, Sun 2 pm, through April 28 , $15-20