Opening This Week

Death of a Salesman
ART goes with a guaranteed tear-jerker this time around. Features Allen Nause as Willy Loman, a choice we approve of. Artists Repertory Theatre, 1516 SW Alder St, 241-1278, Opens Fri 8 pm, runs Tues-Thurs, Sun 7 pm, Fri-Sat 8 pm, Sun 2 pm, through Feb 27, $15-35

* Like A Five Wheeled Bicycle
Fever Theater, creators of last year's intriguingly intimate Sneaky Little Armageddons, presents another original work in which actors move in and out of five separate yet interconnected worlds. B&O Warehouse, 107 SE Washington, 233-4420, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, through Feb 19, $10-15, Thursdays pay what you can

On the Verge
The uprising Inside Out Theatre Collective presents a comedy by Eric Overmyer which features three 19th-Century women, one of which will be played by Wade McCollum. Also watch for Andy Lindberg, who will be playing eight different characters by himself. West End Theater, 1220 SW Taylor, 234-0973, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, through Feb 5, $15

* The Killing Game
One of Ionesco's most fascinating, and most under-appreciated plays, this surreal epic depicts the citizens of an utterly average city as one by one they begin to die off at the hands of an ambiguous disease. Put on by your friends at defunkt theatre. Back Door Theatre, 4319 SE Hawthorne, 993-9062, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, Sun 4 pm, through Feb 26, $8-15

The Lisbon Traviata
Profile continues its season-long tribute to Terrence McNally with Lisbon, a play about a group of friends obsessed with the opera. The press release promises "an uncommon treat" for audiences: "a funny first-act and a serious second-act." Wow! The Profile Theatre Project at Theater! Theatre!, 3430 SE Belmont, 242-0080, Opens Fri, runs Thurs-Sat 8 pm, Sun 2 pm, through Feb 20, $12-25

Things of Dry Hours
Naomi Wallace's play about a black father-and-daughter duo in 1932 Alabama, who must deal with a troubled white man demanding shelter from the law. Portland Center Stage, 1111 SW Broadway, 274-6588, Opens Fri, runs Thurs-Sat 8 pm, Thurs 12 pm, Sun 2 pm, Tues-Wed, Sun 7 pm, through Feb 5, $15-55

Closing This Week

* The Cold Comedy Concoction
Stark Raving presents a fun evening of four short, light, original comedies commissioned to three local playwrights--William S. Gregory, Todd Pozycki, and high schooler Kelly Bartholomew--and one out-of-town writer, Stephen Karam. In a happy twist, the young student Bartholomew holds her own with the delirious modern fairy tale Mixed Messages, in which a bizarre witch named Glacierella (Paige Jones, hilarious) casts morality spells on a ragtag group of students on their way to a school function. Meanwhile, the hilarious linguistic trickery of Karam's equally inspired The Principal and the Pee is a sad victim of director Michelle Seaton's obnoxious overdrive pacing, and William S. Gregory's opening arctic adventure Empirical features two tea-sipping penguins deconstructing the human race with witty banter. Todd Pozycki's zany office nightmare Spud Toppers is a worthy concluding act to this evening of wintry fun. JWS Coho Theatre, 2257 NW Raleigh, 232-7072, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, $10-18

Current Runs

Amadeus
See review this issue. Lakewood Theatre Company, 368 S State St, 635-3901, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, Sun 7 pm, through Feb 20, $22-24

* The Wild Child
The Hand 2 Mouth theater company brings back Wild Child, stories of feral children that feature a life-size bunraku puppet as the unifying element. Unlike most American companies, Hand 2 Mouth's productions are always works in progress, to be brought back again and again in different, improved forms. Performance Works NorthWest, 4625 SE 67th Ave, 248-0557, Thurs-Sun 8 pm, through Jan 30, $8-10

* Mike Daisey's 21 Dog Years: Doing Time @ Amazon.com
After more than 200 performances of his solo tribute to the trials and tribulations of working at Amazon.com, it's fairly safe to say that Mike Daisey has honed 21 Dog Years. He attacks his anecdotes from the Land of Cubicles with a ferocity that draws huge laughs out of the smallest jokes, and sidesplitting banshee howls out of the big jokes. The funniest scenes involve Daisey's life as a customer service drone, dealing with an endless stream of calls and emails from awful customers... If you've ever made such a call yourself and DEMANDED to speak with a manager, Daisey's insight on who you ACTUALLY get transferred to is enlightening, to say the least. JWS Portland Center Stage, 1111 SW Broadway, 274-6588, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, Tues-Wed, Sun 7 pm, Thurs 12 pm, Sat-Sun 2 pm, through Feb 6, $15-55

Dance

Shen Wei Dance Arts
The Chinese-born choreographer Shen Wei is also a painter whose dance visions are so gorgeous and epic, the good folks at the Schnitzer have extended their stage by 14 feet to contain it all. Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, SW Broadway & Main, 790-ARTS, Wed 7:30 pm, $19-43