Opening This Week

Big Love
Charles Mee's glamorously weird modern update of Aeschylus' The Suppliant Women has become a popular production choice for fringe and college theaters all over the country—as evidenced by this new production at Portland State. Lincoln Hall, PSU, SW Broadway & Market, 725-3307, 7:30 pm May 26-27 & May 31-June 3, 2 pm May 28, $3.50-9

One Week Only

Song of Myself
If Walt Whitman were really the god some people think he is, he'd be immortal, and thus 187 years old this week, on May 28. Celebrate his birthday with one-man show master Johnny Stallings, who will perform a solo rendition of Song of Myself. Brooklyn Bay, 1825 SE Franklin, Bay K, 777-5879, Sun 7 pm, $12

Closing This Week

Fever Theater's new show presents an advertising agency known as the Pandemonium Institute, which pays for artists to live in a controlled environment where their behavior is monitored and outside influence is restricted. This thought-provoking, entirely engaging production moves beyond pure spectacle into the realm of genuine experience. AH Goldsmith Building, 20 NW 5th, 233-4420, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, Fri-Sat 10 pm, ends May 27, $10-15, Thurs pay-what-you-can

Current Runs

Stephen Sondheim's strange and compelling Assassins introduces the audience to nine historical characters, all of whom at some point attempted to kill a president. Through a disjointed series of songs and vignettes, the piece explores their individual motivations, and how the actions of these "historical footnotes" fit into the bigger picture of American identity. At times, watching the show felt like being assaulted: by the too-loud music, by frequent gunshots, by the relentless, often irritating self-justifications of the characters. But this is the point; this desperate, noisy grasping at success and spectacle. These people are the American dream turned inside out—if it leaves you feeling shaken, or a little bit drained, so much the better. AH Artists Repertory Theatre, 1516 SW Alder, 241-1278, Tues-Sat 8 pm, Sun 2 & 7 pm, $15-40

Bog of Cats
Coho presents a very welcome production of Irish playwright Marina Carr's darkly comic modern riff on the Greek legend of Medea. Coho Theatre, 2257 NW Raleigh, 220-COHO, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, Sun 2 pm, $22

Support The Portland Mercury

The Miracle Theatre concludes its season as Olga Sanchez directs Edwin Sanchez's play about a Bronx boy who turns to the church to escape his troubled family. The Miracle Theatre, 525 SE Stark, 236-7253, Thurs 7:30 pm, Fri-Sat 8 pm, Sun 2 pm, $16-20

Julie Akers directs Moira Buffini's play which is described in the press release thusly: "Amid the chaos of Viking raids and the end of the millennium panic, Silence, the young Lord of Cumbria, is forced to marry a feisty French princess at the behest of the King." Back Door Theater, 4319 SE Hawthorne, 784-7316, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, $15-18