One Week Only

Under the Table
Returning to Portland from NYC, the physical comedy-bent theater group Under the Table presents SOLO, a two-person hodgepodge of acrobatics, wordplay, and puppetry. Performance Works NorthWest , 4625 SE 67th Ave, 239-8578, Fri-Sun 8 pm

Closing This Week

A Lie of the Mind
Love. Hate. Sex. Violence. Familiar enough themes to anyone with a pulse, they're explored with relish in Theatre Vertigo's production of Sam Shepard's A Lie of the Mind. The play opens on a darkened stage, with a phone call between two brothers: Jake (Todd Van Voris) needs help from Frankie (Tom Moorman) after beating his wife so badly that he thinks he's killed her. It turns out his wife, Beth (Julie Starbird), is not actually dead--but Jake's beating has left her brain-damaged. Both Beth and Jake return to their childhood homes, Beth to recover from her injuries, and Jake to brood over the murder he believes he has committed. Enter some pretty disturbed parents and three well-intentioned siblings, and you have a framework within which to explore love's endlessly fucked up permutations. Vertigo's cast, as per usual, has impressive chemistry. In particular, April Magnusson and Camille Cettina give nuanced performances as Jake and Beth's two very different, though similarly put-upon, mothers, while Chris Porter steals every scene he's in with an oddly endearing performance as the redneck dad who goes hunting to avoid speaking to his wife. Pete Bogh's music, too, is noteworthy: eerie and appropriate, fleshing out the minimal set and heightening the emotional impact of each scene. AH Theatre Vertigo at Theater! Theatre! , 3430 SE Belmont, 306-0870, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, $13-15, Thursdays pay-what-you-can

Take Me Out
A subtle playwright who excels at holding relationships under a microscope, Richard Greenberg stomps on his material here with clumsy bombast. The gay baseball player in Take Me Out, Darren Lemming (Dennis Mosley), isn't just any gay baseball player, he's the BEST gay baseball player, a young, brash, future Hall of Famer who announces his sexuality to the world without a trace of doubt or shame. Bafflingly, the protagonist in his play isn't the gay baseball player in question, but a wizened old veteran, Kippy Sunderstrom (Scott Coopwood), who also serves as narrator to the story, and who comments on the proceedings with witty aplomb. As the liberal, well-read Kippy, the intelligent and wiry Scott Coopwood is typically stellar, upstaging the already neglected predicament of Lemming, which is not abetted by Seattle import Mosley's bland, uninspired performance. To make the heavy-handed handling of its homosexual trappings complete, Take Me Out calls for many nude shower scenes, which director M. Burke Walker eagerly employs. These moments are obviously intended to show the awkwardness that would occur when a bunch of naked alpha-males suddenly find a naked homo in their midst, but, in a serious flub, Greenberg begins the play with Lemming already out of the closet, and so the audience never gets to see what it was like when everything was nice and hetero and okay. Deprived of the should-have-been fascinating before-and-after comparison, the ubiquitous naked men feel superfluous-shock value tactics tacked on to truss up an already trussed up situation. JWS Artists Repertory Theatre , 1516 SW Alder St, 241-1278, Thurs 7 pm, Fri-Sat 8 pm, Sun 2 pm, $15-35

Current Runs

The always fun Portland Actors Ensemble presents Othello starring Paul Susi as Othello, and Jason Maniccia as Iago. Lovejoy Fountain Park , 4th & SW Lincoln, 467-6573, Fri-Sat 8 pm, through July 9, FREE

The Rocky Horror Show
Before The Rocky Horror Picture Show was a cult film classic, it was a cult play classic by Richard O'Brien. Frankly, we're pretty tired of the whole Rocky Horror deal, but this thing has Wade McCollum as Frank-n-furter, so we'll stay positive. Triangle Productions , Theater! Theatre!, 3430 SE Belmont, 224-8499, Fri-Sat 8 pm, through July 9, $30-35


Summer In Brodavia
The Brody presents its usual summertime fare: a weekly evening of generally good improv with veterans Tom Johnson, Brad Fortier, Marilyn Divine, and more. Brody Theater , 1904 NW 27th Ave, 224-0688, Sat 9 pm, through Sept 3, $6-9

Extra Medium
The first Tuesday of every month features this eclectic evening of local standup comedy, digital video, and music. This month's show features a stripped-down cast performing "a sketch about evolution, one about a scary waitress, and an advertisement for weight loss through sodomy." Jasmine Tree , 401 SW Harrison St, 223-7956, Tues 8:30 pm, $3

Improv vets Marilyn Divine and Stephanie Wichmann present another installment of their "two-woman sketch comedy extravaganza." Brody Theater , 1904 NW 27th Ave, 224-0688, Fri 9 pm, through July 8, $8