opening this week

The endlessly creative James Moore takes a stab at directing AND writing this time around with a new play about three people who are driven to acts of violence while shacked up in a seemingly uninhabited house. Defunkt Theatre, at the Back Door Theater, 4319 SE Hawthorne Blvd, 993-9062, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, Sun 4 pm, through Feb 22, $8-15

Alma de Cuba
A tale of love and revenge involving a mother searching for her lost daughter amidst a surrealistic landscape of mythological orishas. The Miracle Theater, 525 SE Stark Street, 236-7253, Fri-Sat 8 pm, through Dec 21, $12

And Then I Did This, And Then I Did That
A son teaches his father to read. Triangle Productions, at Theater! Theatre!, 3430 SE Belmont, 239-5919, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, Sun 5 pm, through Feb 2, $15

This season's Edward Albee landslide (Profile just wrapped a production of The Zoo Story and The American Dream, and Portland Center Stage has a production of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf on the way) continues with this play about two couples on the beach, one human and one... REPTILIAN!? The Profile Theatre Project at Theater! Theatre!, 3430 SE Belmont, 242-0080, Thur-Sat 8 pm, Sun 2 pm, though Feb 16, $12-$25

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Albee's breathlessly disturbing masterpiece about one of the most dysfunctional couples you'll ever see. Portland Center Stage, 1111 SW Broadway, 274-6588, Opens Fri, runs Tues-Wed, Sun 7 pm, Thurs 12 pm, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, Sat-Sun 2 pm, through Dec 23, $12-47

closing this week

Diabolical Experiments
The Brody gets to try out new stuff during the run of this show. Each weekend they present a new cast, director, improv format, and theme. Brody Theater , 1904 NW 27th Ave, 224-0688, Fri-Sat 8 pm, through Jan 18, $10

one week only

Dancing When Found: A Benefit for the Lost Youth in Sudan
Storyteller Michael Meade leads this evening of song, dance, and theater about the children in Sudan who endured homelessness, war, and suffering before finally finding their way to America. Funds raised at this event will help them seek professional training and higher education. PSU, Lincoln Hall, 1620 SW Park Avenue, 630-2140, 7 pm, $20 suggested donation

current runs

Search and Destroy
Brian Young's Search and Destroy is a twisty, pulpy, Hitchcock/Chandler/Tarantino-inspired thriller play loaded with drugs, babes, suits, gunfire, and a cast full of shady characters. Its story about a down-and-out schmoe (Saunders Beckel), who gets in all sort of trouble to raise money for a film, is interesting, and its cast, though amateurish, is goofily endearing. Young is a good mimic. He copies a style made popular by film and puts it in a theater, but he doesn't make it theatrical. His plays are movies without the special effects and general Hollywood magic that make movies shine. They're entertaining because they imitate movies and movies are entertaining, but whether they're worth paying $12 for, as opposed to $8 for an actual movie, is debatable. JWS Paula Productions, at the Jack Oakes Theater, 2820 NE Sandy Blvd, 450-9939, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, Sun 2 pm, through Feb 1, $8-12

Support The Portland Mercury

SLAY Film Fest
In person at the Clinton St. Theater 10/29 & 10/30