Opening This Week

Craptacular! Craptacular!
A new show by The Tragedies, a newish sketch comedy troupe with a stunningly good website replete with compact discs and an enormous array of Tragedies clothing merchandise for your purchasing pleasure. That's some serious talk they're talking, and all we can say is they better be able to walk the walk. Back Door, 4319 SE Hawthorne Blvd, 984-4549, Fri-Sat 10:30 pm, through Feb 5, $8

We're interested in First Light Productions, a new company put together by talented actors Peter Handy and Julie Brundage. Their first show, Misfits, is an evening of funny one-acts by NYC playwright Erica Silberman. AT Studios, 8500 SE 17th, 227-3337, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, Sun 7 pm, through Feb 6, $15

One Week Only

* All Stories Are Fiction
If you're a fan of Mike Daisey's superb one-man show going on right now in this same theater, get another fix at this extremely affordable, cool-sounding event at which Daisey will make up an hour-long story virtually on the spot, featuring the theme "Profit and Loss and the Space Between." Portland Center Stage, 1111 SW Broadway, 274-6588, Mon 7 pm, $5

* Polaris Tsunami Relief Concert
A great dance performance brought to you by the Polaris company to raise money for the tsunami tragedy. The massive list of cool performers includes the Jefferson Dancers, Oslund and Co., Portland Opera, and Oregon Ballet Theatre. St Mary's Academy, 1615 SW 5th, 725-3307, Sun 5 pm, $25

Closing This Week

* 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. Performance Works NorthWest, 4625 SE 67th Ave, 248-0557, Thurs-Sun 8 pm, through Jan 30, $8-10

Current Runs

* 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
In Eric Overmyer's On the Verge, three intrepid female explorers from the year 1888 set out to traverse a vast jungle. As they trek through the wilderness, mysterious objects start appearing in the jungle, confusing the ladies but giving a nudge-wink to the audience (who may recognize that crazy rotary device as an eggbeater). Soon the women find themselves in a psychic time/space maelstrom of futuristic impressions, including advertising jingles, campaign slogans and teenybopper slang. The Insight Out company's accomplished cast more than competently handles the material-in particular, Wade McCollum gives an earnest charm to the spinstery, science-happy Mary. The problem, though, is that the material just doesn't have much to offer. The character development, social commentary and even entertainment value, is mired in a sea of non-sequiturs, including frequent references to Eisenhower, a bizarre pre-occupation with Cool Whip, and a possible lesbian subplot that I may just have projected as a function of my extreme boredom. ALISON HALLETT West End Theater, 1220 SW Taylor, 234-0973, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, through Feb 5, $15