Opening This Week

Face Reader
Quintessence Theatre presents its second summer show, an original work by artistic director Connor Kerns, who is kind of the brains behind the entire operation. Face Reader is a modern play about terrorism-induced paranoia. It complements MacBeth, currently also playing at Quintessence. The schedule for both shows is all wonky, so call for details. Mago Hunt Center, at the University of Portland, 5000 N Willamette Blvd, 943-7287, Fri-Sat 8 pm, through Aug 15, $8-15

Uncle Rubio's Instant Star Chamber
Reuben Nisenfeld, who's one-man show Attendance is Mandatory was a semi-hilarious mess, now brings a cast of actors onboard to give him a boost. Chamber is a cabaret-style variety show with "a twist of sensualist Japanese puppetry" and musical guests each night like The Maybe Happenings. Back Door Theater, 4321 SE Hawthorne, 736-1027, Fri-Sat 10:30 pm, through Aug 14, $7-8

Ursula K. LeGuin: Earth Stories
After an uneven start with Carver Country, a staged adaptation of Raymond Carver short stories, Portland Arts & Lectures gives its VERB series another go-around with some staged tales by LeGuin, taken from her collection Unlocking the Air and Other Short Stories. Theater! Theatre!, 3430 SE Belmont, 227-2583, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, Sun 7 pm, through Aug 15, $12-24

No Shame Theatre
This fun sounding open mic for theater nerds returns. Whether you have a prepared piece with props, want to just improvise, or want to take your pants off and run around like a two-year-old, this performance opportunity is for you. Brooklyn Bay, 1825 SE Franklin, Bay K, 737-3344, Fri 10:30 pm, sign up at 10 pm, $5

One Week Only

Red Night Opening Gala
The Red Cat Theatre is a new group in town that plans to have cabaret/vaudeville/burlesque kinds of performances in restaurant/bar atmospheres, so if it sucks, at least you'll have food and drink to distract you. Tonight's kickoff event shouldn't suck, however, as it features a ton of cool performers like Amber Martin, The 3rd Floor, Loren Hoskins, Emcee Daria O'Neill, and more. Plus the outrageous ticket price includes food from Connor Catering and a no-host bar. Crown Ballroom, 918 SW Yamhill, 347-8777, Fri 7:30 pm, $65

Current Runs

Debbie Does Dallas
Take a triangle tour through heterosexual myth in this musical adaptation of a truly seminal porn. Debbie (the charming Julie Jeske) is a high school cheerleader who dreams of cheerleading for a professional football team, but can't afford the pilgrimage to Dallas to follow her dream. With the help of her nubile fellow cheerleaders, Debbie is able to make money the old fashioned way: by getting her freak on. In spite of the racy core text, Debbie the musical has been sanitized for the whole family, so raincoat types need not crowd the theater hoping for an eyeful. By the time the '70s porno fantasy has been filtered through choreographed coitus and stylized cabaret, any semblance of S-E-X has been transformed into pure camp. (NOTE: The good folks at Triangle have lowered the ticket price for this show to $10. That's INCREDIBLY cheap for them, so if you're a fan, get in line, buster.) TP Triangle Productions, Theater! Theatre!, 3430 SE Belmont, 239-5919, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, through Aug 14, $10

Gross Generalization
In Gross Generalizations (The Bunny Play), young playwright James Sandlin Ashby and his compatriots from Reed's undergraduate theater program have created a meditation on suburban family life at the end of the Great 20th Century. The play's Reagan-era design (arguably the most successful turn of the work, by Paul Simkowski) seems influenced by the cut-and-paste surrealism of Dead Kennedys album covers and the Church of the SubGenius. The result is an alternate reality where characters shift from cartoonish mugging to zombie catatonia with little pause. The eponymous Bunny (C. Wright Cronin) is our guide through an often fragmented, nonlinear narrative. Somewhere inside the rather rigorous text is a connection between consumerism and family ties, between materialism and violence. If it sounds like a little much, it is, and while some sequences offer some acerbic wit (particularly those dealing with pastoral painter cum shopping mall cult leader Thomas Kincaid), Ashby falls victim to writing as therapy. TP Back Door Theater, 4321 SE Hawthorne, 736-1027, Thurs-Sat 9 pm, through Aug 14, $10

Hors d'Oeuvres
See review this issue. Stark Raving, at the Coho Theatre, 2257 NW Raleigh, 232-7072, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, Sun 7 pm, through Aug 14, $10-18

* Starr Ahrens' Unaccompanied Solo Exploration of Her Original One-Act Musical
One-time Portlander Ahrens returns from Los Angeles to the place where she originally developed Unaccomapanied, an interactive one-woman musical journey through beautiful Europe. Brody Theater, 1904 NW 27th Ave, 224-0688, Tues Aug 2 @ 8 pm (also Fri Aug 6 @ ComedySportz, 10 pm), $10

A late-night show written by the talented cast and addressing issues of sexuality. Features nudity galore. Stark Raving, at the Coho Theatre, 2257 NW Raleigh, 232-7072, Fri-Sat 10:30 pm, through Aug 13, $12


* Superego: Your Life is In Danger
Ego Productions' Superego is an evening of sketch comedy that provides plenty of laughs courtesy of six young performers who know when to go over the top and when to stay deadpan. The material avoids easy targets like celebrities and current events. "X-treme Chipz" lampoons marketing trends, and "Two Candidates at a Debate For to Be the President of the United States of America" called to mind a certain public figure, but virtually all of the material would play just as well in 1994 or 2014 as it does today. There wasn't a single dud among the 15-plus pieces. SCS Ego Productions at the Fez Ballroom, 316 SW 11th, 503-784-4904, Fri 9 pm, through July 30 , $7