One Week Only

La Traviata How often is Portland treated to the debut production of a brand new opera company? Not during our illustrious arts writing career, that's for sure. The Oregon Lyric Opera presents its debut production of Verdi's classic La Traviata, in English, and in the cozy, booze-soaked walls of the Crystal Ballroom. Crystal Ballroom , 1332 W Burnside, 225-0047, Thurs-Fri 8 pm, $20-35

Shadow of Giants The Dell'Arte company's physical theatrics are always fun to watch. This weekend they present, in cahoots with the local Insight Out collective and Flying Fish Productions, a solo show about a woman who sits in a redwood tree for a year. It does not star Julia Butterfly Hill, as far as we know. West End Theater , 1220 SW Taylor, 234-0973, Fri-Sat 8 pm, $12-15

Closing This Week

My Fair Lady The rain in Spain and all that jazz. Portland Center Stage , 1111 SW Broadway, 274-6588, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, Sat 2 pm, $15-55

Recent Tragic Events Last chance to see this phenomenal show. Written by Six Feet Under scribe Craig Wright, Recent Tragic Events occurs on 9/12/01, in the apartment of Waverly, who readies herself in her Minneapolis apartment for, of all things, a blind date. Her TV blares carnage from the streets of downtown New York, and her mother calls with frantic updates regarding the search for her twin sister, a NYC resident. But Waverly is committed to seeing this date through, if only for the distraction value. Put on by the brand new all-star theater company Third Rail Repertory, which juggles Wright's blend of realistic dialogue and surrealistic tricks with masterful nonchalance. JWS Coho Theatre , 2257 NW Raleigh, 232-7072, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, Sun 2 pm, through Mar 12, $21

Current Runs

No Exit Imago's legendary production of Sartre's postmodern classic returns, with its innovative, centrally suspended set fully intact. The actors must move in perfect unity to counterbalance the stage and keep it from tipping them into the void. Pretty fucking cool. Imago Theater , 17 SE 8th Ave, 231-9581, Tues-Thurs 7:30 pm, Fri-Sat 8 pm, Sat 1:30 pm, Sun 7 pm, through Apr 9, $18-24

The Visit Continuing where he left off with the acclaimed Seven Great Loves, Sojourn Theatre mastermind Michael Rohd presents Friedrich Durrenmatt's The Visit, another "theatrical journey" wherein the audience follows the action through the halls of an alternative venue (here, Marshall High School), stopping at various points to witness the next narrative installment. Durrenmatt's greatest work presents the aging, wealthy socialite Claire Zachanassian (Gretchen Corbett), who returns to the impoverished town that spawned her with $100 million in one hand and a very twisted revenge plot in the other. Rohd and company focus on interpretative ensemble work, gutting the playwright's darkly witty banter and surreal physical details in favor of a somber visual/verbal dance that moves, haunted house-like, through eerily lit corridors. As per usual in Sojourn productions, visual and technical innovations abound, but the playwright's stellar dialogue frequently arrives via monotonous prerecorded voice-overs, and in one baffling sequence, in rhythmic fusions of showtunes and rap. It's as if Rohd is intentionally dismissing Durrenmatt's language, wringing it of humor and vibrancy to prove some mysterious point. JWS Marshall High School , 3905 SE 91st, (971) 544-0464, Wed-Sat 8 pm, through Mar 19, $5-25

Comedy/Improv

Surreal Estate The Brody generally has clever improv formats, but the description of this one sounds a bit broad: "An improvised stream-of-consciousness exploration of the daydreams, fantasies, flashbacks, and hallucinations of a group of people who happen to be gathered at a public place." Brody Theater , 1904 NW 27th Ave, 224-0688, Fri-Sat 8 pm, through Apr 9, $10

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Dance

Holy Goats! This month's installment of the movement/improv series has a pretty impressive lineup of Tracy Broyles from Theory 1:dance, Monster Squad member Dawn Joella Jackson, and actor/dancer/director/defunkt theatre member Emily Stone. Performance Works NorthWest , 4625 SE 67th Ave, 777-1907, Sun 2 pm, $7, includes coffee & bagels

Body, Mind, Spirit The Oregon Ballet Theatre presents its newest concoction, an evening of three modern ballets, including a world premiere from artistic director Christopher Stowell entitled "The Impending Hour," a tribute to his relatively new home of Oregon and what makes it so darn special: rain. Keller Auditorium , SW Third and Clay, 222-5538, Fri-Sat 7:30 pm, $7-90

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