Opening This Week

A Bright Room Called Day
Theatre Vertigo goes a bit mainstream with a production of Tony Kushner's A Bright Room Called Day, a portrayal of a group of artists and activists trying to stay true in the thick of 1930s fascist Berlin. Theater! Theatre!, 3430 SE Belmont, 306-0870, Opens Fri, runs Thurs-Sat 8 pm, Sun 7 pm, through Jan 1, $15

Mr. Bob Cratchit's Wild Christmas Binge
Christopher Durang's Wild Christmas Binge is based on A Christmas Carol, but incorporates every traditional Christmas story you can think of into a comedic, dirty-filthy musical mishmash. Artists Repertory Theatre, 1516 SW Alder St, 241-1278, Opens Fri 8 pm, Runs through Dec. 26; Fri-Sat 8 pm, Sun 2 & 7 pm, Tues-Thurs 7 pm, $15-35

One Week Only

* Language of Consumerism
One of the most popular events at the Enteractive Language Festival, the Language of Consumerism is a direct shunning of the day after Thanksgiving-AKA the largest shopping day of the year. Begin by not buying any-fucking-thing today, and conclude by heading to some intriguing performances tonight, including the Butoh group Kiss the Goat, and Consumption Junction, a "capitalist-free improv ensemble." The Scarlett Ballroom, 700 NE Dekum, Fri 8 pm, free

Closing This Week

* House of Cunt
House of Cunt continues a-rockin' you with Friday solo performances from Andrew Ox, Kaetlin Kennedy, Amber Martin, and Angela Campbell, and a hilariously strange group effort on Saturday titled "Sell Ron's Package." This is the final weekend of the run and it will be packed to the gills, so come early to get a good seat. Nocturnal, 1800 E Burnside, 239-5900, Fri-Sat 8 pm, $10

Anna in the Tropics
See Review this issue Portland Center Stage, 1111 SW Broadway, 274-6588, Tues-Wed & Sun, 7 pm, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, Sun 2 pm, through Nov 28, $15-55

Current Runs

Boston Marriage
Things are stirring again at Coho, which opens its 2004-05 season with David Mamet's play about two Victorian women of fashion who live together as if married. Coho Theatre, 2257 NW Raleigh, 220-2646, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, Sun 2 pm, through Dec 4, $21

Freak Show
A gross comic portrayal of human oddity, based on freak shows throughout history. Featuring: The World's Largest Little Girl and the Amazing Bird Woman! How can you resist? Tribe Theatre and Art Gallery, 403 NW 5th, 227-3976, Fri-Sat 8, Sun 2 , $15

Julius Caesar
NWCTC is an odd little company. Their productions invariably feature good energy, talented actors, and production values about as high as a church basement. The Magdelyn Theater space feels like a high school black box, with a cardboard-looking stage and lights that are perhaps a small step above fluorescents. Director Fred Walton stuffs a massive cast into this oversized coffin, which gives the play's many street/crowd scenes a bustling urgency. The production climaxes, as it should, with Antony's funeral speech, delivered with rousing passion by Grant Turner and accentuated by the jostling throng's boisterous excitement. It's a great scene, emphasized by the quieter, less-populated moments in which Walton's staging heads south, the people move aside, and the audience is no longer distracted from the truly ugly walls 'tween which this production resides. JWS Magdelyn Theatre, 403 NW 5th, 274-4771, Sun 2:30 pm, $15

* Keep Tightly Closed in a Cool Dry Place
Sowelu Theater performs a two channel ritual in honor of Megan Terry, the godmother of avant garde theater and playwright laureate of the '70s feminist movement. Here, Terry's strange gaze into power and manipulation is performed twice, the first with all female actors and the second with an all male cast. Watching the two performances in a row is essentially like watching Gender herself/himself put on a one-man/woman show. Barry Hunt's male chapter seems to run faster through Terry's play, and the actors perform as athletes with Keith Goodman's choreography making the most indelible impression. Theater at the Back Door, 4319 SE Hawthorne Blvd, 230-2090, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, Sun 2 pm, $15 on Fri & Sat, $8-15 on Thurs & Sun; Call for reservations

* Pageant
Triangle presents a musical spoof on the American beauty pageant. Miss West Coast, Miss Great Plains, Miss Bible Belt, etc. square off in a vicious fight for the crown, and the winner is decided by the audience. This raucous competition features local drag queen Poison Waters and Pepe from Pepe and the Bottle Blondes. Triangle Productions, Theater! Theatre!, 3430 SE Belmont, 239-5919, Thurs 7:30, Fri-Sat 8, Sun 5, through Dec 23 , $17-23

* Vitriol and Violets: Tales From the Algonquin Round Table
This is a play about 1920s New York and the great creative forces like Dorothy Parker and Robert Sherwood who used to kick it at the city's famed Algonquin Hotel. It's been done before as a staged reading, and now receives a full production, not to mention a recent Oregon Book Award victory for best dramatic work. Lakewood Theatre Company , 368 S State St, 635-3901, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, Sun 7 pm, through Dec 12, $24


* Do Jump Holiday Show
Get psyched for the insane antics of the holiday season with the insane antics of Do Jump's extremely physical theater. Enjoy aerial dance, acrobatics, live music, comedy, etc. Hooray for the holidays! The Dance Cartel, at Echo Theatre, 1515 SE 37th, 544-0464, Fri-Sat 7:30, Sun 3, through Jan 2, $20


* Antiques Improv Show
This is our favorite thing the Brody Theater does. A wickedly funny send-up to that time-tested mom-magnet Antique Road Show, the Brody's versions presents a panel of experts who "appraise" objects brought by you the audience, while the rest of the cast acts out stories, historical reenactments, and even commercials to give more background. It's the closest you'll ever get to improvised multimedia, and can be, in addition to plain hilarious, at times rather fascinating. Brody Theater, 1904 NW 27th Ave, 224-0688, Fri-Sat 8 pm, through Dec 18, $10

Puppetz vs. People
ComedySportz and Tears of Joy puppet theater team up in an improvisational competition, where puppets and people compete in theatrical games and take improv suggestions from the audience. Great for all ages and levels of stonedness. Winningstad Theater, 1111 SW Broadway, 248-0557, Sat 8 pm, $12-15