Opening This Week

Church Bizarre
Ah, hilarity at the expense of the sacred and profane; does it get any better than that? Big Belly presents an evening of church-themed sketch comedy developed through a series of improv sessions. Expect good things; the three members of the company are veterans. Stacey Hallal has been performing with All Jane No Dick for a while now; Phil Incorvia just got back from touring a one man improv show in Chicago; and Kent McCarty is the artistic director of ComedySportz, now on its 786,543rd straight week of great comedy fun. Big Belly at the Back Door, 4321 SE Hawthorne, 233-5798, Fri-Sat 8 pm & 10:30 pm, through July 26, $10

Grease
How refreshing: a musical about high school greaseballs performed by actual high school greaseballs, instead of 30-year-old film or Broadway actors pretending to be high school greaseballs. Northwest Children's Theater, 1819 NW Everett St, 222-4480, Fri-Sat 7 pm, Sun 2 pm, through July 27, $10-$15

Summer in Brodavia
Old Brody veterans mix with new faces garnered from the Brody's improv classes to produce two acts of long form improv. Should be fun to try and predict which of the newbies will become mainstays... and which won't. BWA HA HA HA HAAAA!!!! Brody Theater, 1904 NW 27th Ave, 224-0688, Sat 9 pm, through Sept 6, $10

This Burning Heart
At the very least, Gwynne Allen Warner should know what she's doing as an actress, considering her resume states a stint training and performing with London's Royal Shakespeare Company. Whether or not she can put together a show about the ravages of war, complete with live music, remains to be seen. Theatre of the Invisible, at the Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center, 5340 N Interstate, 452-7113, Opens Fri, runs Thurs-Sat 8 pm, through July 26, $15

One Week Only

The 2 Behind the Gyrlz
Echoing through the cavernous walls of the Modern Zoo, the 2 Gyrlz, Lisa Newman and Llewyn Maire, present respective works of performance art, explorations of identity, sexuality, and various pieces of produce. 2 Gyrlz at the Modern Zoo, 6635 N Baltimore, 234-4950, Sat 7 pm, $2-$10 donation

Current Runs

Artist Descending A Staircase
Stoppard's witty dialogue is compromised in this reflective play about the Dada movement as the three principle actors (Jacob Coleman, Patrick Fooks and Kate Sanderson) struggle to find their initial chemistry while also portraying old people. The show perks up when Sophie (Aurora Erlander-Miller), the muse of their youth, enters the mix and the actors play the 20-somethings they really are. The company has not mastered the art of theatric conversation, and are most interesting when action preoccupies the stage, such as when a blind Sophie pours a tea service. AS Fever Theater at the Liminal Space, 403 NW Fifth at Flanders St., 233-4420, Sun-Mon 8 pm, through July 21, $10

* Spiderheaddog
The Third Floor's brand of sketch comedy capitalizes on that Seinfeld-ian "isn't it funny when" or "don't you hate it when" brand of humor, which almost always works. When they make fun of cheesy WB shows, it's funny; when they make fun of post-game sports interviews, it's on point; when they mock cheesy horror flicks, it's pretty damn smart. One warning however: if you're not a television watcher, this show will be for the most part irrelevant. I can't imagine getting the jokes if you didn't know where they were coming from. And another warning: if you're not prepared for a dense, two-hour, fast-paced, yelling, running, jumping, musical, comedic, video extravaganza, you'll end up like I did by the end: with my teeth ground down to nubs. KS The 3rd Floor, at the Miracle Theatre, 525 SE Stark, 258-1681, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, through July 19, $12

Dance

* Conduit Summer Performance Festival Series
Three weekends, three different dance performances in Conduit's fabulous loft space. Former Trisha Brown Co. member Mariah Maloney helps kicks things off tonight with a movement representation of a journey through two different passages of time. Conduit artistic director Mary Oslund joins the bill with a new work Kinder Weather and a re-work, 9 Red Steps. Conduit Studio, 918 SW Yamhill, 4th Floor, 221-5857, Fri-Sat 8 pm, $12-$14

* Ibdaa Dance Performance Tour
An internationally acclaimed Palestinian youth dance troupe composed of teens from the Dheisheh refugee camp near Bethlehem. That's really not something you get to see very often. PSU, Lincoln Hall, 287-1885, Sun-Tues 7 pm, $13