One Week Only

Fever Pitch and Shift
Under the Table is a theater group from New York who uses archaic vaudevillian comedy to comment on current political trends. They'll do Fever Pitch. Amy Jo McCarville is a performer living in Portland who was trained at the Dell Arte school for physical theater and likes to use masks a lot. She'll do her one-woman show Shift. Under the Table at Disjecta, 116 NE Russell, 239-8578, Sat-Sun 8 pm, $10

* Puns in the Oven
The Haven Project continues its awesome mission to help underprivileged youth express themselves through theater magic. For this performance 10 lucky kids were paired with 10 lucky playwrights, who wrote plays based on those kids. Then the 10 kids got paired with 10 lucky actors, who have helped them to bring their play alive for your enjoyment. Artists Repertory Theatre, 1516 SW Alder St, 872-9635, Fri-Sat 7:30 pm, Sat 3 pm, free

Closing This Week

Carver Country
The best of this evening's three story-to-stage adaptations is "Cathedral" because, unlike much of Raymond Carver's work, the original story's subtlety is in the meaning, not in the action. This frees the cast from making "theatrical" choices that are overly strong to the point of distorting the characters. And "Cathedral," about a blind man come to visit an old friend and her suspicious husband, also has moments of overt humor--again, not always common in Carver's writing. The other two stories don't fare as well. "Why, Honey?" comes across like sketch comedy, despite the fact that Jean Miller gives a convincing performance as a mother stuck dealing with a psychopathic son. Similarly, "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love" contains good performances, especially by the two women, Deanna Wells and Deirdre Atkinson, but falls flat as a representation of the story. The love discussed by the protagonists in "What We Talk About" is drunken, and there are hints of violence between one couple, Mel and Terri. On stage, however, they don't hint at violence, but come close to actually inflicting it on each other. Mel (a needlessly goofy David Sikking) thus becomes the exact type of caricature Carver spent his whole career deftly avoiding. MWH Theater! Theatre!, 3430 SE Belmont, 227-2583, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, Sun 7 pm, through July 25, $24

Current Runs

Debbie Does Dallas
In spite of the racy core text, Debbie the musical has been sanitized for the whole family, so raincoat types need not crowd the theater hoping for an eyeful. By the time the '70s porno fantasy has been filtered through choreographed coitus and stylized cabaret, any semblance of S-E-X has been transformed into pure camp. TP Triangle Productions, Theater! Theatre!, 3430 SE Belmont, 239-5919, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, through Aug 14, $25 advance, $30 door

Hors d'Oeuvres
After a brief hiatus, Stark Raving presents a new play about an important dinner with huge stakes. Get it? "stakes"? HA! Stark Raving, at the Coho Theatre, 2257 NW Raleigh, 232-7072, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, Sun 7 pm, through Aug 14, $10-18

* Macbeth
Acknowledging that Macbeth is by far the gothiest of Shakespeare's tragedies (Lady Macbeth being the prototype for icy goth girls the world over), Quintessence decorates the stage with macabre delight. Director JoAnn Johnson has shepherded her cast into their darkest corners, inspiring a sinister undertone to even the most innocuous of characters. While Todd Van Voris is a fine actor, a Quintessence mainstay, the title role seems better suited for a self-loathing alpha male, the upwardly mobile politico who chooses mass murder as a career shortcut. Luckily for audiences, Rafael Untulan has raised the bar with a show-stealing turn as MacDuff, whose emotional intensity takes on seismic proportions. TP Mago Hunt Center, at the University of Portland, 5000 N Willamette Blvd, 943-7287, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, through Aug 6, $8-15

* Superego: Your Life is In Danger
The sketch comedy genre's loose form allows for hysterically inventive work, but also for cheap shots, sloppy performances, and poorly crafted material. Ego Productions' Superego suffers none of these flaws, providing plenty of laughs courtesy of six young performers who know when to go over the top and when to stay deadpan. The material avoids easy targets like celebrities and current events. "X-treme Chipz" lampoons marketing trends, and "Two Candidates at a Debate For to Be the President of the United States of America" called to mind a certain public figure, but virtually all of the material would play just as well in 1994 or 2014 as it does today. There wasn't a single dud among the 15-plus pieces. SCS Ego Productions at the Fez Ballroom, 316 SW 11th, 503-784-4904, Fri 9 pm, through July 30 , $7

A little late-night fun with your friends at Stark Raving. Advertised as an "honest and unapologetic exploration of sexuality," this is never the best way to describe live theater (even if it's true). But the production features some good actors, including Deanna Wells, Julie Jeske, and Chris Murray. Stark Raving, at the Coho Theatre, 2257 NW Raleigh, 232-7072, Fri-Sat 10:30 pm, through Aug 13, $12


* Match Game '77
ComedySportz mixes it up a bit with a salute to one of the most popular game shows of the '70s. Audience members get to compete alongside the comedians for cool prizes like a year-long pass to ComedySportz. ComedySportz Arena, 1963 NW Kearney Street, 236-8888, Fri 10 pm, $5

Summer In Brodavia
Just a good, reliable evening of hilarious improv, featuring excellent Brody standards like Brad Fortier, Tom Johnson, and Kerry Leek. Brody Theater, 1904 NW 27th Ave, 224-0688, Sat 9 pm, through Sept 4, $10


The second installment of Cydney Wilkes' year-long dance cycle representing the five elements. She's onto FIRE now, and will convey her relationship to this flesh eating monster of nature using 2x4s, lanterns, tubs of water, special guest dancers Mike Barber and Christine Calfas, and music by Tim DuRoche and Doug Theriault. South Waterfront Park, 2100 SW River Parkway,, Thurs-Sun 6 pm, free