Opening This Week

Omnium Gatherum
WillieWorks Productions presents this 2004 Pulitzer Prize-nominated script about a group of people from varying occupational and ethnic backgrounds having a dinner party in the wake of 9/11. West End Theater , 1220 SW Taylor, 223-4240, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, Sun 7 pm, through Aug 14, $18

One Week Only

Societas Insomnia
The cast members of Societas Insomnia are committed to scaring the living shit out of you, and will do so via an elaborate combination of Butoh, body modification (that's hooks through living flesh, people), "hard fetish acts," fire, and "living genetic freaks." Sabala's Mt Tabor , 4811 SE Hawthorne, 238-1646, Sat 10 pm, $13

The Centering
Take a walk on the late-night side with this new one-man show from local good playwright Steve Patterson and local good actor Chris Harder. Coho Theatre , 2257 NW Raleigh, 232-7072, Fri-Sat 11 pm, $10

The Vanishing Point
Berkeley's physical theater company, the Carpetbag Brigade, tours the world with ensemble-based works that might feature crazy outdoor acrobatic stilt-walking configurations, or quiet indoor philosophical riffs on the roots of Western consciousness--as tonight's event will be. Performance Works NorthWest , 4625 SE 67th, info@carpetbagbrigade.com for reservations, Fri 8 pm, $8-20

Current Runs

Salom
A new company, Look Away Productions, presents Oscar Wilde's seldom-done dark comedy, an eroticized Biblical interpretation that didn't see the light of day until well after his death. The Miracle Theatre , 525 SE Stark, 715-0960, Thurs-Sun 8 pm, through Aug 7, $10-15

Tao Soup
Scott Kelman steps up to the directorial plate again after what feels like years of doing nothing but providing free experimental theater workshops to the community. For Tao Soup, he's utilized a process called "kelmanworks" to create a piece of "serendipitous events and entertainment." Brooklyn Bay , 1825 SE Franklin, Bay K, 777-5879, Fri-Sat 8 pm, through Aug 6, $10-14

VERB: Literature in Performance
For last summer's first installment of VERB, an evening of one-acts adapted from literary short stories, Portland Arts and Lectures selected works by Raymond Carver, an author whose blue-collar weirdness proved difficult to translate to the stage. This year, the nonprofit has eased up a bit with lesser known writers and a theme: "Love's Labors: Lost & Found." In Russell Banks' "The Moor," a middle-aged man (the great, grizzled Ted Roisum) encounters the elderly woman he had an affair with (Michele Mariana) when he was just a young 'un. Elsewhere, Grace Paley's "Love" presents a geriatric couple talking about poetry, and Lon Otto's "Love Poems" is essentially an extended joke about an aspiring writer's true reasons for writing an ode to his beloved. The remaining one-acts are based on Charles Baxter stories, "Saul & Patsy Are Getting Comfortable in Michigan" and "The Eleventh Floor." Banks and Baxter, in particular, can spin prose that entrances. But here, onstage, their work feels purposeless. Nobody in this production is energized, from the techies involved in the high school-quality set changes to director Julie Akers' listless staging. Theater! Theatre! , 3430 SE Belmont, 227-2583, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, through Aug 7, $16-22

Dance

Akira Kasai
Culminating a five-day workshop he's been conducting since Tuesday, renowned Butoh artist (and '05 TBA Fest performer) Akira Kasai offers a free performance to the public. Joining him onstage will be students from the workshop, which won't be that cool, but not uncool enough that you should miss a chance to see Kasai for free because of it. Imago Theater , 17 SE 8th, 725-5288, 7 pm, FREE

Catherine Egan, Tahni Holt & Sinead Kimbrell
Ol' Conduit's been quiet for a while, performance-wise, but that doesn't mean things haven't been hoppin'. For three months, three lucky artists have been honing new works in the studio as part of a Conduit program to develop works-in-progress from emerging artists. Catherine Egan has both a dance and theater background and her company, Eggshell, has produced dances that feature everything from an adult-sized baby (sounds like our home life) to the U.S. Constitution. Tahni Holt infuses her ongoing project, Monstersquad, with a distinct and fascinating movement style that frequently resembles a struggle as dancers twist and contort against and away from each other. Grappling with their own momentum, their physical conflict finds brief reprieve via levity, as people literally take flight, suspended by the appendages of other people. The final ingredient in this eclectic choreographic stew is Sinead Kimbrell of SpugMotion, whose fusions of hiphop, Irish, and Celtic dance are upbeat and flat-out fun. A must-see night of local dance! JWS Conduit Studio , 918 SW Yamhill, 4th Floor, 221-5857, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, $3-10

Comedy/Improv

Comedy 101
Ever wanted to try standup comedy but are too much of a lily-livered chickenshit? Professional comedian Alex St. Andrews wants to help you, with a two-day workshop of comedy performing and writing designed for less serious people who "just want to have fun once a week." Hospitality Inn , 10155 SW Capital Hwy, 244-6684, Sat-Sun 10 am - 6 pm, $125

Extra Medium
The funny/funky monthly brew of standup, sketch, and digital comedy that is Extra Medium turns one year old tonight, and though we don't have specifics about the spectacular birthday event, the press release promises "lots of REALLY funny new content," which sounds pretty gosh darn good. Jasmine Tree , 401 SW Harrison, 223-7956, Tues 8:30 pm, $3