Opening This Week

A Moon for the Misbegotten
Coho finally chimes in with its season opener, another one of O'Neill's biographical plays about his depraved and alcoholic family. Don't be scared, though: nobody ever wrote depression as entertainingly as O'Neill, and this production has a strong cast, including the always-reliable Tim True. Coho Theatre, 2257 NW Raleigh, 220-2646, Opens Fri, runs Thurs-Sat 8 pm, Sun 2 pm, through Nov 29, $18-$20

One Week Only

* Portland Puppetganza
Puppets of all kinds converge on the cool Nocturnal space for an evening of string-jerking fun. Bring the kiddies and catch shadow puppetry, giant mask theater, hand puppets and more courtesy of Wow Wee Zow Wee Cinema, Mudeye Puppets, Nancy Aldrich, and others. Nocturnal, 1800 E. Burnside, 239-5900, Sat 6 pm, $5

* Sowelu Fundraiser
Support one of Portland's finest theatrical treasures. Sowelu offers two different events this weekend to raise money for its upcoming season. Friday night check Plays From the Inside, a collection of works written by inmates in Sowelu's Prison Outreach Program. And on Saturday night catch The 6h Annual Sowelu Fundraiser, an evening of food, drink, and performances from local poets, actors, dancers, and musicians. Sowelu Theater at the Pacific Crest School, 116 NE 29th, 230-2090, Fri-Sat 7 pm, $10-$100

Closing This Week

A Number
At some point in his life, Salter lost his son in a car crash, and so used technology to create a clone. Everything worked fine, except the people who made the clone kept the genetic information and proceeded to make about 20 more versions of the same boy. Caryl Churchill's tricky text is extremely plot-driven, yet also strives for ambiguity--a hodgepodge of Usual Suspects-style mystery and social commentary that doesn't quite add up. JWS Imago Theater, 17 SE 8th Ave, 231-9581, Thurs 7:30 pm, Fri-Sat 8 pm, Sun 7 pm, through Oct 26, $24

Current Runs

* Another Fine Mess
Another Fine Mess begins in a backstage dressing room before a performance of Waiting for Godot, the actors and stage manager speaking into a vanity mirror, which in this case happens to be the plane between stage and audience. The mirror device is one of the play's more ingenious conceits, inviting the audience into the actors' own self-scrutiny and paranoia. Drukman's play retains Beckett's reciprocal tone of tragedy and comedy, and Portland Center Stage ably humanizes Drukman's self-described "love letter to the theater." TP Portland Center Stage, 1111 SW Broadway, 274-6588, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, Thurs noon, Sat-Sun 2 pm, Sun, Tues-Wed 7 pm, through Nov 8, $16-$25

* Faust (Faust)
By far the most effective mode of creative production in Faust (Faust) is the live musical score. The musicians channel Goethe aesthetes Mahler and Lizst as much as they pay homage to the musical geniuses of the past 50 years. A ghost-white pump organ wheezes, chains are dragged across the floor, and at one point you can hear John Cage's femur bone being racked against a piano leg. The result is an uninterrupted mood of psychological terror--dark musical water that threatens to drown the dancers, the actors, and the audience. TP Liminal Space, 403 NW 5th, 890-2993, Thurs-Sat 9-11 pm (visitors can come and go) through Nov 1, $6-$8

* Mister Murdery
A killer is on the loose and two nurses sit alone at Citytown General Hospital waiting to see if they're the next victims in this fun, little comedy put on by the up-and-coming Cardboard Box folks. The Cardboard Box Theatre Company, at the Electric Company, 2512 SE Gladstone, 232-7667, Fri-Sat 10:30 pm, through Nov 8, $10

* Scary Movie
Back for its fifth consecutive year, it's the Brody's Halloween "horrorfest," featuring improvised monster movies (extremely fun), hilarious hosts (always a bonus), and prizes (not necessary, but we'll take it). Plus! This year there's a huge display of vintage horror and sci-fi movie memorabilia! Brody Theater, 1904 NW 27th Ave, 224-0688, Fri-Sat 8 pm, through Nov 1, $12

Dance

* Minh Tran & Company
Last seen performing with a Persian lutist at the TBA Fest, Minh Tran always has something new and interesting up his sleeve. Oh yeah, and he's also a really, really good dancer. White Bird, at PSU/Lincoln Hall, SW Park & Market, 224-4400, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, $12-$24

Six Duets: A Contact Improvisational Dance Performance
One night only: Stuart Phillips, Laura Stokes, Margo Ende, and Patrick Gracewood bouncing, rolling, and flying off each other like only contact improvisers can. Performance Works NorthWest, 4625 SE 67th Ave, 288-1498, Fri 8 pm, $10