Opening This Week

A Thought About Raya
Insight Out concludes its '05-'06 season with a work based on the violent, darkly comic writings of Russian absurdist Daniil Kharms. West End Theater, 1220 SW Taylor, 234-0973, opens Fri, runs Thurs-Sat 8 pm, $5-15

The Writer's Nightmare
It's the return of Stark Raving's late night hit, wherein local theater folks engage in a heated battle of improvised playwriting. Come this Friday to see the Mercury's own Justin W. Sanders square off against Liminal actor Patrick Wohlmut. Coho Theatre, 2257 NW Raleigh, 232-7072, Fri-Sat 11 pm, $10

Like I Say
Holy shit, this is one of the most exciting fringe theater productions in recent memory: defunkt theatre has teamed up with Theatre Vertigo to produce Len Jenkin's crazy-ass play about the derelict inhabitants of a run-down hotel. PLUS! Puppets from Tears of joy! This is gonna be good... Theater! Theatre!, 3430 SE Belmont, 306-0870, opens Fri, runs Thurs-Sat 8 pm, through May 13, $15, Thurs pay-what-you-can

One Week Only

Johnny Stallings' King Lear & Hamlet
If you haven't had the privilege of watching Johnny Stallings (who recently moved back to Portland) perform solo renditions of Shakespeare's greatest works, this weekend's your chance. The Old Church, 1422 SW 11th, 784-3590, Lear: 8 pm Apr 14; Hamlet: 8 pm Apr 15, $12-15

Radiant Theatre Benefit
To prep for their upcoming production of Tommy, Radiant presents a big ol' hootenanny of a fundraiser, with performance artists Rale Sidebottom and the Dell'Arte-trained Amy Jo McCarville, and music from Once in the Sun, Ali Ippolito, the actual cast of Tommy, and about 50 more. Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison, Fri 9 pm, $5-20

Closing This Week

Celebrity Row
PCS presents a new work by Itamar Moses, a hypothesis of what might transpire were four of the world's most notorious death row inmates—Ted Kaczynski, Timothy McVeigh, Luis Felipe, and Ramzi Yousef—given one hour to talk with each other each day. Portland Center Stage, PCPA Building, 1111 SW Broadway, 274-6588, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, Sat-Sun 2 pm, Sun 7 pm, ends Apr 16, $15-56

The War Project
Sojourn's The War Project is no simple series of vignettes, nor is it the monument to liberal guilt that I half expected. Rather, it's a nuanced, postmodern exploration of how human beings rationalize killing other human beings. AH Sojourn Space, 215 SE 9th, 228-7231, Thurs-Fri 8 pm, Sat 7 & 10 pm, ends Apr 15, $10-15

Current Runs

Don't You Know Who I Think I Am?
Stephen Lisk presents his original one-man show, directed by Victoria Parker. Back Door Theater, 4319 SE Hawthorne, 230-2090, Fri-Sat 10:30 pm, $10

The Mark
In the first of the three interconnected vignettes that make up Gretchen Icenogle's The Mark, a woman, Lucy, finds out that the married politician she had an affair with when she was 15, Patrick (Neil Goldschmidt, anyone?), has just died. The friend who brings the news of his death is the same friend who, years before, betrayed the secret of the affair—a subject that remains touchy between the two women. As Lucy reminisces about the relationship, memory becomes reality, and suddenly she is once again living her affair with Patrick. The second and third acts, loosely related to the first, contain similarly boundary-bending takes on identity, morality, time, death, and love... a thematic grab bag that would sound overambitious if it didn't actually work. AH CoHo Theater, 2257 NW Raleigh, 232-7072, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, Sun 7 pm, $10-20

The Water Principle
In Sowelu's production of The Water Principle, Deirdre Atkinson plays Addie, the lone occupant of a cabin in a desolate rural landscape. Eliza Anderson's script hails from the Beckett school of minimalism. The setting is grim and dreamlike, the characters in a kind of self-prescribed purgatory. We call this surrealism; its confrontational ambiguity needs to be battled with the guns of purpose, but Sowelu's cast, as directed by Barry Hunt, hasn't done their homework. JWS Back Door Theater, 4319 SE Hawthorne, 230-2090, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, $8-15

The Arts Equity company in the 'Couve presents the premiere of Quintessence honcho Connor Kerns' new play, Zaney, a backstage farce of "lust, need, melodrama, wit, passion, [and] humor." Nothing better than a little need to get you through the week. Main Street Theatre, 606 Main Street, Vancouver, (360) 695-3770, Thurs 7:30 pm, Fri-Sat 8 pm, Sun 7 pm


Mark Morris Dance Group
White Bird presents one of New York's most celebrated modern dance troupes, the Mark Morris company; so busy and popular they can only be in town for one night. White Bird at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, SW Broadway & Main, 790-2787, 7:30 pm April 19, $19-43

Oslund & Co
Mary Oslund's talented dance company presents a brand new work ("The Object of Unreal," with music by Imago's stellar resident composer Kate Griesar); a new, longer version of an old work ("Crazy"); and two old works ("Awkward Duets," and "Further," with music from Steve Koski and Liminal's stellar resident composer John Berendzen). Imago Theater, 17 SE 8th, 221-5857, ex 3, Fri-Sat 8 pm, Sun 7 pm, $13-15


High School Improv Comedy Championship
We're pretty sure this event's title by itself is more than enough to get you a-comin', but just in case you need more incentive: Tonight's improv battle showcases contestants from Riverdale, Tualatin, Wilsonville, and Glencoe high schools. Mahalia Jackson Hall, 8131 N Denver, 735-4184, Fri 9 pm, $5