opening this week

Hot Hot Hamlet
Three one-act comedies based on ol' Willie Shakes (that's "the Bard" for you laymen), including Tom Stoppard's remarkable 15 Minute Hamlet. Theatre Vertigo, at the Electric Company, 2512 SE Gladstone, Suite 200, 232-5955, Opens Fri, runs Fri-Sat 8 pm, through June 21, $15

The Hostage
In the depths of an Irish lodging house of ill repute, a young Cockney soldier is being held hostage in reprisal for an IRA man who will be hanged in the morning. Lots of "bloodys," "wankers," and "bloody wankers" ensue. PSU Theater Dept, at Lincoln Hall, Portland State University, 1620 SW Park Ave, 725-3307, Opens Fri, runs Thurs-Sat 8 pm, Sun 2 pm, through June 7, $9.50

one week only

Stop Kiss
The tender tale of a single, sudden kiss in the West Village, and how it ripples out into seven lives. Ahh... Walking Theatre, at Disjecta, 116 NE Russell, 239-5156, Fri-Sat 8 pm, $7

* Visions and Voices
Come support the kiddies by hearing plays written by high schoolers read by professional actors. They're sure to be energetic, raw, and untarnished by the bitterness of adulthood. Winningstad Theater, 1111 SW Broadway, 432-2995, Mon-Tues 7 pm, free

closing this week

* Song of Myself
In honor of Walt Whitman's birthday, the endlessly quirky Johnny Stallings serves up another one-man humdinger with a solo rendition of this famous poem by the great writer. The Drawing Studio, 3614 SE Division, 281-1616, Fri-Sat 8 pm, through June 7, $6-$12

* Touch
Touch draws on the classic rational scientist-in-irrational-love motif-and yet it escapes the predictable clichés by wholeheartedly and convincingly devoting itself to the process the protagonist, Kyle, undergoes, from ecstatic love, to a grief that shuts out the world, to the cold comfort found in strangers. AS Artists Repertory Theatre, at the IFCC, 5340 N Interstate, 241-1278, Thurs, Sun 7 pm, Fri-Sat 8 pm, Sun 2 pm, through Jun 1, $22

current runs

* Bang. Curtain. End of show.
Bang. Curtain. End of Show. is simultaneously a celebration of melodrama and an exploration of what it means to be at the theatre--i.e. watching people play dress-up and act. The loose script, adapted from sources like Bluebeard & Irma Vep by Charles Ludlum and The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, employs classic stock characters in the typical haunted castle/locked up love scenario. There's a villain, an ingenue, a hero, a fool, a maid and some minions. You get the idea. AS defunkt theatre, at the Back Door Theater, 4319 SE Hawthorne Blvd, 993-9062, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, Sun 4 pm, through June 21, $8-15

* Frogz
Frogz is as fun and innovative as it ever was, though it could benefit from some fresh writing... A new work, "Rabbits," is possibly the best skit of the lot, featuring movement skill as sophisticated as any of the other acts, and a clever, witty story to bring it all to the next level. JWS Imago Theater, 17 SE 8th Ave, 231-9581, Wed-Sat 7:30 pm, Sat-Sun 1:30 pm, Sun 5:30 pm, through June 20 (extended), $14-$24

The 25th-anniversary production of John Murrell's play about the 19th-century diva Sarah Bernhardt. Coho Theatre, 2257 NW Raleigh, 220-2646, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, Sun 2 pm, through June 21, $18


American Choreographers Showcase
OBT artistic director James Canfield brings it with four contemporary dances by (surprise!) American choreographers, including David Parsons' The Envelope, in which seven dancers are chased by a possessed envelope. Oregon Ballet Theatre, 1111 SW Broadway, 222-5538, Thurs-Sun 7:30 pm, Sat-Sun 2 pm, $5-$82

Music + Dance
Any guesses what this one features? That's right, it's a demolition derby! Just kidding... it's music and dance, silly, with your favorite performers Kathleen Keogh, Scott Smith, and more! Performance Works NorthWest, 4625 SE 67th Ave, 777-1907, Sat 8 pm, Sun 7 pm, $9