The Fever
The ambitious folks at Sowelu round out a fall season of dance and music with a short run of Wallace Shawn's one-person play, performed by visiting LA actress Afsaneh Boutorabi. Back Door Theater, 4319 SE Hawthorne, 230-2090, opens Thurs, runs Thurs-Sat 8 pm, 4 pm Sun Dec 11, through Dec 17, $8-15

One Week Only

Live Wire!'s Second Annual Holiday Yule A Ganza
Live Wire's seasonal extravaganza pro­mises to satisfy all your non-denominational holiday needs, with entertainment by the likes of David Bragdon, poet Scott Poole, and screen­writer Gill Dennis. Aladdin, 3017 SE Milwaukie, Wed Dec 14, 7 pm, $9-10

Current Runs

As with Frogz and their other repertory works, the good folks at Imago have reworked this original kid friendly animal/illusion showcase, wisely incorporating the presence of a giant dinosaur who will be wrestled by prehistoric humans. Imago Theater, 17 SE 8th, 231-9581, Wed-Sat 7:30 pm, Sat-Sun 1:30 pm, Sun 5:30 pm, through Jan 1, $16-31

Dog Opera
Dog Opera is not, unfortunately, about singing dogs. Nay, this offering from 2Boards tells the story of two New Yorkers trying to find love in the Big Apple. THEATER! THEATRE!, 3430 SE Belmont, 232-5375, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, Sun 2 pm, through Dec 18, $10

Having settled into its new home at the CenterRing out on SE Foster, Tribe Theatre presents a new production of David Mamet's play about a college student's strange relationship with her professor. Stars Sabra Choi and Michael Teufel. CenterRing, 5339 SE Foster, 788-3389, Fri-Sat 8 pm, through Dec 17, $10-12

Owen Meany's Christmas Pageant
For those unfamiliar with John Irving's book, A Prayer For Owen Meany, Owen Meany is not, as his name may suggest, a bully. Quite the contrary, Owen is a wisp of a tween in 1953 New Hampshire. Fed up with playing the harnessed angel in the annual Christmas pageant, this year Owen refuses and, in so doing, shakes up tradition. Besides questioning the presence of no fewer than six turtledoves circling the manger, Owen also introduces a bit of metaphysics to his hometown and, of course, nothing is ever the same again. WG Artists Repertory Theatre, 1516 SW Alder, 241-1278, Tues-Thurs, Sun 7 pm, Fri-Sat 8 pm, Sun 2 pm, EXTENDED: 7 pm Dec 21-24, 4 pm Dec 23-24, $15-40

This Wonderful Life
On paper, a one-man stage adaptation of the holiday film classic, It's A Wonderful Life, seems suspect at best. But then you factor in the addition of star Mark Setlock-whose other one-man show, the posh New York restaurant-skewering Fully Committed, absolutely killed Portland audiences last year—and things suddenly seem a bit less dire. And sure enough, though Setlock and playwright Steve Murray's This Wonderful Life has about as much depth as a wading pool, it's a hell of a lot of fun to watch, due largely to Setlock's mastery of caricatures that walk that fine line between ridicule of his source material and loving homage. His Jimmy Stewart, as Jimmy Stewarts tend to be, is cartoonish; more interesting are the subtle, side-splitting mannerisms he brings to supporting roles like Violet Bick (in Setlock's world a vamping, preening, cooing future prostitute) and the ancient real estate slumlord Mr. Potter (his relentless gumming of an imaginary pair of false teeth is a highlight). But the most amazing aspect of Life is the pure spectacle of it all—Setlock's rapid-fire transitions between these characters are a feat of impressionistic juggling unlike anything you will see this year, and more entertaining, as my date put it, than "watching a dog do acrobatics." Which is very entertaining indeed. JWS Portland Center Stage, 1111 SW Broadway, 274-6588, Tues-Wed, Sun 7 pm, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, Thurs 12 pm, Sat-Sun 2 pm, through Dec 24, $15-56


A(n Improvised) Christmas Carol
The Brody offers an antidote to sappy holiday entertainment with a "Choose Your Own Adventure" style retelling of A Christmas Carol, in which the audience gets to decide the outcome. Brody Theater, 1904 NW 27th, 224-0688, Fri-Sat 8 pm, 8 pm Sun Dec 18, $8-12


Watch extremely pretty people bend their bodies in interesting ways in choreographer Alonzo King's Lines ballet. Lincoln Hall, PSU, SW Broadway & Market, 725-3307, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, $14-25

George Balanchine's The Nutcracker
It just ain't Christmas without The Nutcracker. And that's why we hate Christmas. Keller Auditorium, 222 SW Clay, 790-ARTS, opens Fri, runs Mon-Sat 7:30 pm, Sat 2 pm, Sun 1 pm, 5 pm through Dec 24, $18-98