Opening This Week

* Uncle Rubio's Instant Star Chamber
Reuben Nisenfeld, who's one-man show Attendance is Mandatory was a semi-hilarious mess, now brings an ever-changing cast of performers onboard to give him a boost. This week it's Haiku Inferno on Friday, and Catone on Saturday. Chamber also features "a twist of sensualist Japanese puppetry" and musical guests each night like The Telling this Saturday. Back Door Theater, 4321 SE Hawthorne , 736-1027, Fri-Sat 10:30 pm, through Aug 14, $7-8

Wonder of the World
David Lindsay-Abaire's satire about a repressed math teacher who leaves her husband to embark on a road trip to Niagra Falls. Magdelyn Theatre Company, 403 NW 5th, (971) 544-1736, Opens Fri, runs Thurs-Sat 8 pm, through Aug 29, $15

One Week Only

* RENT
Call us a sap, but we really love this musical. When we're doing dishes we turn it on and sing our butts off. And every time Roger howls "Mimi!" while holding his dying lover in his arms, we shed a little tear. Broadway in Portland, at the Keller Auditorium, SW Third and Clay, 790-ARTS, Aug 10-14 @ 7:30 pm, Aug 14 @ 2 pm, Aug 15 @ 1 & 6:30 pm, $21.50 - 58.50

* Starr Ahrens' Unaccompanied Solo Exploration of Her Original One-Act Musical
One-time Portlander Ahrens returns from the City of Angels to present her new solo show, in which she will lead you on an "enthusiastic, interactive tour of Europe, complete with song, dance, and satire." ComedySportz Arena, 1963 NW Kearney Street, 236-8888, Fri 10 pm, $10

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. (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 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
Bridging amusement and intellect, this comedy about a high society dinner party gone wrong largely avoids the opposing pitfalls of slapstick schlock and heady sermonizing. In two acts, it moves from a comedy of manners to a dark commentary on the failing of words and the people who use them. A smart script makes it possible, but Stark Raving Theatre's well-rounded cast makes it happen. RD Stark Raving, at the Coho Theatre, 2257 NW Raleigh, 232-7072, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, Sun 7 pm, through Aug 14, $10-18

Love's Labor Lost
The Portland Actor's Ensemble's annual outdoor Shakespeare production is in full effect. If you can handle the screaming kids and families, it can be a fun time, especially if you slip in a big ol' bottle of wine. Washington Park, 467-6573, Sat-Sun 3 pm, through Sept 6, free

Thrust
A late-night riff on sex and sexuality, penned by the actors, and featuring plenty of nudity. Stark Raving, at the Coho Theatre, 2257 NW Raleigh, 232-7072, Fri-Sat 10:30 pm, through Aug 13, $12

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 new 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

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