opening this week

ART's Second Stage has a tough act to follow after the excellent Shape of Things last fall. They'll try with Touch, about an astronomer whose wife is raped and murdered. Artists Repertory Theatre, at the IFCC, 5340 N Interstate, 241-1278, Opens Fri, runs Thurs, Sun 7 pm, Fri-Sat 8 pm, Sun 2 pm, through Jun 1, $22

Run For Your Wife
A hilarious tale of a hardworking cab driver trying to keep his two wives from finding out about each other. Ahh, polygamy... does it get any funnier than that? Triangle Productions, at Theater! Theatre!, 3430 SE Belmont, 239-5919, Runs on weird days through May 24; call for details, $23

one week only

Good Night and Ever Yours
It's hard to beat the price for this new play about John Keats by Eric Hoem. Play Workshop Theatre at Coho Theater, 1819 NW Everett, 274-6838, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, $3-$5

Sowelu Plays in Process
The really talented Sowelu Company of Nan Gatchel's new play Big Star Day on Friday and Lea Floden's updated Curse of the Great Eleven on Saturday. Sowelu Theater at the Back Door, 4319 SE Hawthorne Blvd, 230-2090, Fri-Sat 7 pm, $8 a reading, or $5 for two readings or more

closing this week

Sad, Sad Town
"Nate Halloran and Gretchen McNeely have pieced together an hour-long medley of despondent relationship scenarios, all of which theoretically inhabit the same depressing American town. Their dramatic vehicle is 'sketch-prov,' a fusion of sketch comedy and improvisation. Skits and characters have already been outlined, but the performers have lots of room to ad-lib at will... Halloran and McNeely's performance is capable and definitely on cue, but it's also hit-or-miss. Well-executed, funny improv is difficult to sustain for an hour, and I think most of us would just as soon avoid the possible discomfort of watching jokes fall short." AS Brody Theater, 1904 NW 27th Ave, 224-0688, Sat 10:30 pm, $6

current runs

An amazing play about fanatics living in the Bible Belt and worshipping Jesus by risking their lives handling deadly snakes. It's tough to pull off because it has scenes of actual snake handling, but that's also why so many theater companies right now are itchin' to do it. Portland Actors Conservatory, 1436 SW Montgomery St, 274-1717, Thurs 7 pm, Fri-Sat 8 pm, Sun 2 pm, through May 4, $13-$20

The Old Master Painter
Cool playmaker Jonathan Walters is back with a new one featuring dancing vegetables, prophetic elephants, and singing cornstalks. Hand 2 Mouth Theatre, 6401 SE Foster, 235-5284, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, through May 3rd, $10

Three Tall Women
Profile has been doing high-quality productions of terrific Edward Albee plays all season. Women is Albee's Pulitzer Prize-winning riff on an elderly woman looking back on her turbulent past. The Profile Theatre Project at Theater! Theatre!, 3430 SE Belmont, 242-0080, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, Sun 2 pm, through May 25, $12-$25

"Set in a small town in the frozen north, Tundra revolves around a reporter sent to investigate a hermetic composer and the controversial origin of his final pieces. The overwhelming personality in Tundra is of place, of a chilled, empty landscape and its pestilential control over human life. With a set consisting of nothing more than antiseptic white space and part of a Steinway, Stark Raving uses subtle light patterns and soundscapes to evoke the composer's castle of ice. Tundra is also tightly written and performed; decorated with sparkling lines of restrained sentiment and more obvious metaphor. It leaves the audience with lonely musings." AS Stark Raving, at the Coho Theatre, 2257 NW Raleigh, 232-7072, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, Sun 7 pm, through May 3, $10-$15


Annual Choreographers' Showcase
Five emerging choreographers strut some stuff they've been working on for the last year. Sarah Dulaney's It's Not About You chronicles the relationship between a dancer and a mannequin, while Paige McKinney's piece incorporates "found sound" and computer manipulation. Plus, more! The Dance Cartel, at the Echo Theatre, 701 SW 6th, 275-9285, Fri-Sat 8 pm, Sun 7 pm, $10-$12

Cabaret Boris & Natasha
It's another evening of dance, music, film and more with your favorite wacky hosts, C.B. & N. Tonight's event, among other things, features the House of Cunt; i.e. Portland's greatest musical sketch comedy troupe. Performance Works NorthWest, 4625 SE 67th Ave, 777-1907, Sat-Sun 8 pm, $8-$10

A rare event by the talented BodyVox. Features new works, old works, and a new film by Mitchell Rose, who uses animation techniques like those in the film, Waking Life. BodyVox Dance Studio, SW Broadway & Main, 224-8499, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, Sun 7 pm, $23.50-$38.50