opening this week

Whoa! Wow! Gosh! Can you believe it!? Frogz is BACK! It's actually showing AGAIN! This is unprecedented. Plus! It's got a brand new movement about rabbits. Imago Theater, 17 SE 8th Ave, 231-9581, Wed-Sat 7:30 pm, Sat-Sun 1:30 pm, Sun 5:30 pm, through June 1, $14-$24

An amazing play about fanatics living in the Bible Belt and worshipping Jesus by risking their lives handling deadly snakes. It's tough to pull off because it has scenes of actual snake handling, but that's also why so many theater companies right now are itchin' to do it. Portland Actors Conservatory, 1436 SW Montgomery St, 274-1717, Opens Fri, runs Thurs 7 pm, Fri-Sat 8 pm, Sun 2 pm, through May 4, $13-$20

So What's Your Story?
The premise: an improviser starts telling a story, and midway through, the rest of the improvisers jump in to enact it through to its titillating conclusion. Brody Theater, 1904 NW 27th Ave, 224-0688, Fri-Sat 8 pm, through May 17, $10

Sowelu Plays in Process
The really talented Sowelu Company has received funds to develop new plays. They will present readings of works by Lea Floden, Luke Heyerman, and Nan Gatchel to celebrate. Call for info on whose play gets read on which night. Sowelu Theater at the Back Door, 4319 SE Hawthorne Blvd, 230-2090, Fri-Sat 7 pm, through April 27, $8 a reading, or $5 for two readings or more

Three Tall Women
With all the cool stuff going on this week, don't forget about quiet, little Profile, who has been doing high-quality productions of terrific Edward Albee plays all season. Women is Albee's Pulitzer Prize-winning riff on an elderly woman looking back on her turbulent past. The Profile Theatre Project at Theater! Theatre!, 3430 SE Belmont, 242-0080, Opens Fri, runs Thurs-Sat 8 pm, Sun 2 pm, through May 25, $12-$25

one week only

Netherlands Dance Theatre II
The formula for this incredible dance company is simple: great choreographers + great dancers = high-octane excitement. White Bird, at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, SW Broadway & Main, 224-4400, Wed 7:30 pm, $18-$39

Arr, ye scurvy scalawag! Attend this physical comedy adventure by one of the best physical theater companies on the west coast, or ye'll be walkin' the plank, says I! YAR! The Dance Cartel, at Echo Theatre, 1515 SE 37th, 544-0464, Fri-Sat 8 pm, $12

Vaudeville Revusical and Novelty Show
Another entertainment extravaganza in Miz Kitty's ongoing series. Tonight's lineup includes the improv of ComedySportz, the music of Whiskey Puppy, the percussive dancing of Maldon Meehan, and much, much more. Miz Kitty's Parlour, at Artichoke Music Backstage Gate, 3130 SE Hawthorne, 232-8845, Sat 8 pm, $10

current runs

Strangers and Romance
Two one-act plays written by Barbara Lhota about couples trying to connect in a cold, hard world. Magdelyn Theatre Company, 403 NW 5th, (971) 544-1736, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, Sun 2 pm, through May 3, $10-$12

The Old Master Painter
Jonathan Walters and his motley crew are back with a new creative explosion of movement, poetry, and folk opera, featuring dancing vegetables, prophetic elephants, singing cornstalks, and more! Hand 2 Mouth Theatre, 6401 SE Foster, 235-5284, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, through May 3rd, $10

Set in a small town in the frozen north, Tundra revolves around a reporter sent to investigate a hermetic composer and the controversial origin of his final pieces. The overwhelming personality in Tundra is of place, of a chilled, empty landscape and its pestilential control over human life. Throughout the show the characters shiver and look out past the audience into a frozen abyss only they can see. With a set consisting of nothing more than antiseptic white space and part of a Steinway, Stark Raving uses subtle light patterns and soundscapes to evoke the composer's castle of ice. Tundra is also tightly written and performed; decorated with sparkling lines of restrained sentiment and more obvious metaphor. It leaves the audience with lonely musings. AS Stark Raving, at the Coho Theatre, 2257 NW Raleigh, 232-7072, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, Sun 7 pm, through May 3, $10-$15

Two Sisters and a Piano
Nilo Cruz's stylized, lyrical script follows the plight of two Cuban sisters imprisoned in their own house as a result of speaking out against Castro's regime. An intriguing premise bogged down by a boring love story that belongs in a check-out line paperback rack. JWS Artists Repertory Theatre, 1516 SW Alder St, 241-9807, Tues-Thurs, Sun 7 pm, Fri-Sat 8 pm, through Apr 27, $15-30

New Rave Late Night
Stark Raving continues to spotlight new works by expanding into other mediums. This weekend's lineup features a reading of Mark Saunders' play, Oedipus and Hamlet, a performance by the dance troupe Anonymous, and a new play by the ubiquitous Connor Kerns. Stark Raving, at the CoHo Theatre, 2257 NW Raleigh, 232-7072, Sun 2 pm, free


As produced by Theatre Vertigo, this is straight up, regular theater that provokes the responses one would expect from a semi-poignant, dark familial comedy. Theatre Vertigo at the Russell Street Theater, 2512 SE Gladstone, 306-0870, Fri-Sat 8 pm, $15

visual arts

Faces in Smoke
A bunch of anonymous political fliers ripped off of telephone poles and bulletin boards and juxtaposed with Jaime Lee Christiana's multimedia paintings, which, incidentally, list tempera and vomit as materials. Planet Gallery, 2503 NE Killingsworth, 998-4779, through April 20

From My Window Seat
Taking pictures from a car window is a sure sign of inexcusable laziness. What about from the window of an airplane though? With a gimmicky plastic camera? See for yourself. Alysia Duckler Gallery, 1236 NW Hoyt St, 223-7595, Through April 26

One Big Cell
Deborah Luster has created an extended portrait of prisoners in Louisiana, printed on black aluminum and filed away in metal drawers. The word "haunting" comes to mind... Blue Sky Photography Gallery, 1231 NW Hoyt St, 225-0210, Through April 26

Max Grover
Greeting card-y illustrations of cats, dogs, pencils, and mermaids. I don't get it. Pulliam Deffenbaugh, 522 NW 12th Ave, 228-6665, Opens April 27

Michael Brophy
The much-ballyhooed regional painter depicts scenes in which man ruins nature in lush Disney-esque colors. Laura Russo Gallery, 805 NW 21st Ave, 226-2754, Through April 29