Opening This Week

Henry IV, Part One
Lots of Shakespeare going on this week, including this free outdoor production of one of Shakespeare's most entertaining history plays, a hodgepodge of war, family, and Falstaff drinking his bloody brains out. NW Classical Theater Company at the Terry Schrunk Federal Park, Terry Schrunk Federal Plaza, between SW 3rd & 4th, Jefferson & Madison, 274-4771, Sat 3:30 pm, free

As played out and overproduced as it is, STOMP is also kind of fun. People whack each other with sticks, flick lighters, and push brooms, all to an amazingly catchy beat. It's not going to change your life, but it's pretty titillating. Broadway in Portland, at Keller Auditorium, SW Third and Clay, 224-4400, Aug 12-15 @ 7:30 pm, Aug 16 @ 5 pm & 9 pm, Aug 17 @ 3 pm & 7 pm, $10-$48

One Week Only

The Bardy Bunch
ComedySportz's "Shakeprov" group improvises an entire play in Shakespearean dialect, a notion that sounds simply disastrous. ComedySportz Arena, 1963 NW Kearney Street, 236-8888, 7:30 pm, $8, or $7 with a can of food

Son of Light
Triangle's publicist-turned-playwright Sherry Okamura presents her new play, which incorporates puppets, movement, and masked actors to tell the story of two half-Japanese brothers in an internment camp. This is a staged reading of the piece, with a full production set to tour the Western states later this month. Triangle Productions, at Theater! Theatre!, 3430 SE Belmont, 239-5919, Fri 7 pm, free

* Richard Foreman Mini-Festival
This is a weird and fascinating idea. Tons of bigtime Portland performers like Jerry Mouawad and Carol Triffle from Imago, James Moore and Peter Buonincontro from defunkt, and Ian Greenfield from Lightbox Studio, will take the same passage from a Richard Foreman text, and twist it however they wish. Foreman is famous for his epic, baffling and repetitious theatrical productions during the epic and baffling 1960s and '70s. Call to see who's performing on which night, 'cuz it changes. Performance Works NorthWest, 4625 SE 67th Ave, 777-1907, Fri-Sat 8:30 pm, $15-$25

Closing This Week

As You Like It
Quintessence claims to triple the normal rehearsal process in order to become more intimately familiar with Shakespeare's language. The results are typically fairly significant; whether for the bad or good, Quintessence at least makes bold and unique choices with the text--a rarity in this town. Quintessence, at the Mago Hunt Theatre, University of Portland, 5000 N Willamette, 943-7287, Fri 8 pm, $12

* Krapp's Last Tape
The Samuel Beckett Estate is extremely possessive of his Master's works (as was his Master), and typically demands that productions follow his stage directions to a T. And sure enough, those familiar with the text of the one-man show Krapp's Last Tape will recognize here its every detail and nuance, obediently executed onto the Liminal stage. John Berendzen, with the help of superb director/choreographer Amanda Boekelheide has nailed Krapp's mannerisms and uncompromising physicality. With Krapp, every step, breath, sigh, and position has been repeated and magnified for decades, and Berendzen's movements have a fitting, studied quality about them that reflects a lifetime of routine. With his wild hair and hunched walk, he also has the perfect look for the decrepit Krapp, though his squeaky voice and bulging eyes do add a rather silly dimension to the proceedings, which technically are about an old man dying in the throes of alcoholism and pain over his dead lover, and thus really not silly at all. But for all its campiness, Berendzen's performance is also fully realized, and frequently hilarious. It's hard to find such layered, unflinching portrayals in this town, whether you agree with all the acting choices or not. JWS Liminal Space, 403 NW 5th, 890-2993, Thurs-Sat 10:30 pm, $6-$15

Current Runs

A Midsummer Night's Dream
Portland Actors Ensemble's 34th annual Shakespeare in the Park production is probably Shakespeare's most park-friendly play. See for info on future locations, as the park changes weekly. Shakespeare in the Park, at Laurelhurst Park, 321-0710, Sat-Sun 3 pm, through Sept 1, free

Chicken Soup For the Hole
Don't confuse this evening of wacky entertainment for Chicken Soup for the SOUL. It's a show by The Exotic Actors' Guild, whose dirty sketch comedy, bizarre love triangles, hippie music, and funk dancing are really quite a different thing entirely. Stark Raving, at the Coho Theatre, 2257 NW Raleigh, 232-7072, Fri-Sat 10:30 pm, through Aug 23, $12

Crossing Delancey
A romantic comedy set in New York City that follows the clash of generational romantic ideals between a young lass and her eighty-year-old grandma. Magdelyn Theatre Company, 403 NW 5th, (971) 544-1736, Opens Fri, runs Thurs-Sat 8 pm, Sun 2 pm, through Aug 30, $14

Oregon Ghosts
The lack of freshness in all three of these little vignettes (and I do mean "little"; at a whopping 23 bucks per ticket, this show has a running time of... one freaking hour) is a bit shocking. Local playwright Donald Olson has no interest in being creepy, but also zero comic ability. His play doesn't provide ghost stories at all, but characters calling themselves ghosts, telling stories that sound as if they've been lifted from Oregon travel brochures. The spirited performances from Ghosts' cast don't even begin to excuse the appalling script, though newcomer Jonas Lerman's catchy musical interludes do liven things up for the duration of his short, precious stage time. JWS Lakewood Theatre Company, at Fir Acres Theatre, Lewis & Clark College, 0615 SW Palatine Hill Rd., 635-3901, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, Sun 7 pm, through Aug 24, $21-$23

* Prague-Nosis
Turn off the stress glands and get ready to have some fun at Theatre Vertigo's extremely lighthearted, silly summer concoction. Written by Jeff Goode, author of the ridiculously fun Poona the Fuckdog, Prague-Nosis comedic murder mystery, loaded with wacky characters with names like Dick Piston, Pleasure Hello, and Havel Presley. Theatre Vertigo at the Russell Street Theater, 2512 SE Gladstone, 306-0870, Thurs-Sat 9 pm, through Aug 16, $12

The Child is Father of the Man
The world premiere of the talented Connor Kerns' new play, about a poetry teacher who looks to the ghost of his father and the writings of Yeats for some answers to his problems. Quintessence, at the Mago Hunt Theatre, University of Portland, 5000 N Willamette, 943-7287, Thurs, Sat 8 pm, Sun 2 pm, $12