Opening This Week

Kiss It!
Amy Wheeler steps into her new role as Stark Raving's resident playwright with this unfortunately titled play about a born-again Christian, a stripper, a queer activist, a sexagenarian, and a street kid who go on adventures together. Stark Raving, at the Coho Theatre, 2257 NW Raleigh, 232-7072, Opens Fri, runs Thurs-Sat 8 pm, Sun 7 pm, through Oct 16, $10-18

* The Mercy Seat
America's most twisted Mormon playwright, Neil LaBute, penned this raw and painfully hilarious account of two adulterous lovers who must reassess their relationship in the wake of 9/11. Artists Repertory Theatre, 1516 SW Alder St, 241-1278, Opens Fri, runs Tues-Thurs, Sun 7 pm, Fri-Sat 8 pm, Sun 2 pm, through Oct 24, $15-35

Walter Matthau's End of Summer Explosion
A fairly recent addition to the Portland sketch comedy scene, Renob Control, presents an evening of fun and hilarity. Renob Control at the Back Door, 4321 SE Hawthorne, Fri-Sat 10 pm, through Sept 25, $6

Closing This Week

* Johnny Stallings' King Lear
The quirky Stallings once again delivers his oddly fascinating solo rendition of Shakespeare's grandest play. Intersplicing narration with actual dialogue, Stallings takes you through it with no frills attached. He doesn't do cute voices, doesn't wear costumes; it's just a little man with a nice voice, serving up the greatest offerings the English language has to offer. Brooklyn Bay, 1825 SE Franklin, Bay K, 235-5745, Fri-Sat 8 pm, $12

Current Runs

A Murder of Crows
See review this issue. Back Door Theater, 4321 SE Hawthorne , 993-9062, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, Sun 4 pm, through Oct 16, $8-15

* Iron
Set entirely in a Scottish prison, Rona Munro's Iron centers around Fay (Lorraine Bahr), a woman who killed her husband with a knife and is paying the price with a life sentence. One day, 15 years after the crime, her only daughter, Josie (Sabra Choi), all grown up, comes to visit, and the two begin to tentatively rebuild a long-broken relationship through hour-long conversations in the prison's visiting area. Along with two brooding, nosey security guards (the wonderful Ted Schulz and Andrea White), two unresolved issues cast a cloud over their increasingly loving repartee: 1) did Josie actually witness the grisly killing? And 2) why did Fay do it? The play is one long, slow build towards answering those burning questions. It's refreshing to see theater with the guts to move at such a careful and calculated pace. JWS Anthem Theatre, at Theater! Theatre!, 3430 SE Belmont, 238-7680, Thurs 7:30 pm, Fri-Sat 8 pm, through Sept 25, $15

Arthur Kopit's Manhattan-based play may be the only theatrical work with a canine protagonist. The troublesome mutt is played by a human, who talks to the audience and prances about, sniffing her ass, scratching her ears with her foot, and performing other canine-like functions. Magdelyn Theatre Company, 403 NW 5th, (971) 544-1736, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, Sun 5 pm, through Oct 9, $10-14


Agnieszka Laska Dancers
New works from the Polish-born Laska, who has been producing repertory dance pieces in Portland for three years. IFCC, 5340 N Interstate Ave, 823-4322, Fri 7:30 pm, Sat 3 pm, $4-10

Flamenco Extravaganza
If Flamenco's your thing, this is pretty much the one dance show you'll want to catch this year. It's a night of skirt-twirlin', high heel-clompin' fun courtesy of Maria Bermudez & Sonidos Gitanos, some of the best flamenco artists in the world. Newmark Theater, Portland Center for the Performing Arts, SW Broadway & Main, 224-4400, Tues 7:30 pm, $35-40

Pigeon, Noggin, Elizabeth Ward
A group like Pigeon, described as a group of improvising dancers and musicians who "create an atmosphere of pigeon flocks" has a tough field to hoe this week, what with all the other similarly artsy fartsy hubbub happening over at the TBA Fest. Disjecta, 116 NE Russell , 335-6979, Sat 8 pm, $4


* Sax and Violence
Brad Fortier and Nate Halloran come at you with another evening of hilarious improvised comedy. Hollywood Theatre, 4122 NE Sandy Blvd., 310-5963, Sat 9:30 pm, $10

Support The Portland Mercury

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