OPENING This Week

An Enemy of the People
Henrick Ibsen's much-done classic about a doctor who warns his town about their contaminated City Baths, and gets reamed for it. PSU Theater Dept, at Lincoln Hall, Portland State University, 1620 SW Park Ave, 725-3307, Fri-Sat 8 pm, $7-$9

The Hour Between the Wolf and the Dog
How often is this town treated to a Czechoslovakian play? Rarely, methinks. This one, by Czech playwright Daniela Fischerova, is about the outlaw poet Francois Villon, and was banned for eight years upon its release in 1979. Fir Acres Theatre, Lewis & Clark College, 0615 SW Palatine Hill Road, 768-7495, Fri-Sun 7:30 pm, $5-8

ONE Week ONLY

The 3rd Floor vs. Some Kind of Cult
This benefit for the 3rd Floor's trip to Chicago will be a sketch comedy battle between Portland's own and the Seattle troupe, Some Kind of Cult. Blue Door Productions, at the Miracle Theater, 525 SE Stark, 258-1681, Fri-Sat 8 pm, $15

Vaudeville Revusical and Novelty Show
The ongoing once-a-month series continues with an Alaskan fiddling poet, an amazing Vaudeville queen, and Ukulele music. Miz Kitty's Parlour, at Artichoke Music Backstage Gate, 3130 SE Hawthorne, 232-8845, Sat 8 pm, $10

Closing This Week

The Shape of Things
This tale of young people back-stabbing and cheating on each other would be standard soap opera fare were playwright Neil LaBute not so smart. JWS Artists Repertory Theatre, at the IFCC, 5340 N Interstate, 241-1278, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, Sun 2 pm, through Nov 17, $22

The Zoo Story & The American Dream
The action of The American Dream plays like a sitcom, but tinged with playwright Edward Albee's metaphorical mastery. His scathingly dysfunctional nuclear family bumbles about, trying desperately to hide their despair under a mask of hyper-cheery affluence. The Zoo Story isn't quite as darkly funny, but it's easily as dark. JWS The Profile Theatre Project at Theater! Theatre!, 3430 SE Belmont, 242-0080, Thur-Sat 8 pm, Sun 2 pm, though Nov 17, $12-$25

True West
PCS has been touting this production up the wazoo for its Hispanic roots. It's true that the two brothers the play revolves around, Austin and Lee, are played by Hispanic actors, Mark D. Espinoza and René Rivera, but disappointingly, this arrangement sheds nothing new on Sam Shepard's classic text. So little does the Hispanic element factor in, that if it wasn't advertised, people wouldn't even know it was happening. It's a shame that this potentially interesting idea isn't capitalized on, especially since there is nothing else interesting about the production to compensate. Indeed, this is one of those productions that are so bland, they make you wonder why the original play was ever considered great in the first place. JWS Portland Center Stage, 1111 SW Broadway, 274-6588, Tues-Wed, Sun 7 pm, Thurs 12 pm, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, Sat-Sun 2 pm, through Nov 17, $12-47

CURRENT RUNS

Apocalypse Mambo
I've talked before about Hoskins and Breen's amazing talent for creating unique characters, but I haven't talked about their inclination towards philosophical diatribe. Skits with cavemen learning the word "fuck," or with apocalyptic angels parallel parking and watching soap operas, or with Johnny Cash finally being recognized as the God that he is, are silly and fun. But the truly contemplative can also look for lines connecting these seemingly random skits, and be rewarded for their efforts. Hoskins & Breen, at Coho Theater, 2257 NW Raleigh, 242-0202, Fri-Sat 10:30 pm, through Nov 23, $10

The Amazing Brenda Strider
The script for this play spends way too much time on the Brenda Strider segment--a trite, uninteresting piece of pulp about a mysterious babe and her murderous plastic surgeon husband--and not enough time on the relationship between the cancer-stricken Gene (Nicholas Burilini-Price) and his screenwriting partner, the sleazy Jerry (Gary Brickner-Schulz). Plot twists ensue, and it turns out that the cliche elements of the Brenda Strider are supposed to be cliché--the tale is an ode to movie pulp. Am I allowed to criticize something for being hackneyed when it is supposed to be hackneyed? I reckon not, but I'm certainly allowed to say that it wasn't fun to watch. JWS Coho Theatre, 2257 NW Raleigh, 220-2646, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, Sun 2 pm, through Nov 23, $16-$18

30 Days Performance Series
Conduit continues its series of exploratory work in media and performance with installations from the folks at Lightbox Studio and Liminal Productions. Plus! More! Conduit Studio, 918 SW Yamhill, 4th Floor, 777-1907, Fri-Sat 8:30 pm, $8-$10

dance/other

Compania Nacional de Danza
Spain's premiere dance company draws strength from sand, fire, and water. White Bird, at Keller Auditorium, SW 3rd & Clay, 224-4400, Tues 7:30 pm, $18-$39

Dance in Performance
Mary Oslund is a great choreographer. She will be showing her exuberantly sophisticated piece, "Fifty Infants," amongst other things. Oslund & Company, at Conduit Dance Studio, 918 SW Yamhill, 221-5857, Fri-Sun 8 pm, $13-$15

First Impressions vol. 2
Some damn good choreographers are contributing to this show, including the inimitable Greg Bielemeyer. BodyVox Dance Studio, 1300 NW Northrup , 224-8499, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, Sun 7 pm, $21.50