PORTLAND, OR - An Oregon improv group, The Light-Fingered Five, will perform at the Campaign for Change office in Oregon City on Friday, October 10th to help register voters and support Barack Obama's Campaign for Change.

WHO: The Light-Fingered Five

WHAT: Free Improv Performance

WHERE: Obama's Oregon City Campaign For Change Office
611 Main Street
Oregon City, OR

WHEN: Friday, October 10, 2008
8:00 pm PST

I've never seen this troupe before, but props to them for getting involved and trying to use theater to directly address our current political reality. Escapism isn't really working for me right now--the idea of prying myself away from the headlines for a night of hermetic entertainment with no bearing whatsoever on the election or the economy makes me feel a little itchy. (Same goes for books: Forget the new Roth, I'm curling up with a pile of these tonight.)

Brendan Kiley at the Stranger has a piece this week in which he breaks down the ten things he thinks theater companies need to do in order to "save themselves" (from what, he doesn't say. Presumably some combination of financial ruin and cultural obsolescence). Read it here. if you have even a passing interest in theater, and then read the comments. While I don't agree with all of Brendan's prescriptions, I can't argue that I'd like to see more companies ditch the Shakespeare and focus on premiering new work, and they need to do it fast and dirty--Artists Rep, at least, got that memo, as they're already two plays in to an all-premiere season, with another show opening next weekend. The CoHo, too, will soon be opening the Northwest premiere of Adam Bocks' The Receptionist. (Bocks wrote The Thugs, which ran at PCS last year and was beloved by everyone but me.)

And more new work is gestating tonight and tomorrow night at a benefit for Portland Theatreworks:

This fundraiser for Portland Theatre Works starts on Oct 10th, 7:30 PM at Hipbone Studios where you will watch six short plays written by local playwrights. Audience members will bid to give their own first lines and last lines to their playwright of choice. The entire audience will pick three props to be used by all the playwrights, who will create these plays overnight! The new plays will be cast, rehearsed, and performed the very next day, October 11th, at 7:30pm again at Hipbone Studios. Madness, you say? Well it's this sort of madness that keeps body and soul together at Portland Theatre Works. Come to challenge us, create with us, celebrate with us, and give to us! $12 will get you in either night, or see both for $20. Our Friday night line-up includes Ciji Guerin's "37 cents", Ellen Kesend's "The Rain, The Goddamn Rain", Ed Reid's "Happy", Fancesca Sanders' "Disgruntled Tiny Tim", Marguerite Scott's "Not Me" and Nick Zagone's "Smoke Scenes".

Complete theater listings here.