A compendium of humor, performance art, and bedroom drama.

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* indicates free tickets available for some performances to celebrate Live Theater Week.

Openings & Previews

The Air is Peopled With Cruel and Fearsome Birds The new show by performance troupe Implied Violence includes movement from Jessie Smith and sound contributions from Sam Mickens. Villville, 1534 First Ave. S., 206-340-2703, $5-$15. Opens Fri. Oct. 27. 8 p.m. Fri.-Sat. Ends Sat. Nov. 18.

* Bedroom Farce Three bedrooms, four couples, and escalating arguments in Alan Ayckbourn's comedy. Stone Soup Theatre, 4035 Stone Way N., 206-325-6500, $10-$22. Preview 7:30 p.m. Wed. Oct. 25. Opens Thurs. Oct. 26. 7:30 p.m. Thurs.-Sat., 3:30 p.m. Sat. Ends Sat. Nov. 25.

Compendium of Nastiness A revival, two weekends only, of playwright/director Ki Gottberg's hourlong "extrapolation" on 19th-century gothic melodrama. Actress Elizabeth Kenny plays all the roles, including virtuous Angela and evil Uncle Osmund. A meditation on desire and sexual discovery, among other things, the production both celebrates and satirizes the classic elements of narrative. The Womb, 15-seat private residence in Madrona, 800-838-3006, $25. No tickets available at the door; arrive between 8 p.m. and 8:15 p.m. Fri. Oct. 27-Sat. Oct. 28, Fri. Nov. 10-Sat. Nov. 11. RICHARD MORIN

Crossroads Project Drawing mall shoppers into interviews and performance art with Donald Fels and members of the Washington Ensemble Theatre. Crossroads Mall, N.E. Eighth St. and 156th Ave. N.E., Bellevue. Free. Opens Fri. Oct. 27. 11:30 a.m. & 1 p.m. Fri.-Sat. Ends Sat. Nov. 4.

Major Bang The Foundry Theatre's Dr. Strangelove-flavored multimedia meditation on fear, real and manufactured. On the Boards, Studio Theater, 100 W. Roy St., 206-217-9888, $22. 8 p.m. Wed. Nov. 1-Sun. Nov. 5 only.

Open Box Monthly open mike for playwrights. The Jewelbox Theatre at the Rendezvous, 2322 Second Ave., 206-720-0083. $3. 4:30 p.m. Sat. Oct. 28 only.

Oracle A multimedia experience including everything from music to healing. Capitol Hill Arts Center, 1621 12th Ave, 800-838-3006,, $25-$30. 8 p.m.-5 a.m. Sat. Oct. 28 only.

* The Winter's Tale Mark Harrison directs Shakespeare's Bohemian romance. Center House Theatre at Seattle Center, 206-733-8222, $18-$32. Previews 7:30 p.m. Wed. Oct. 25-Thurs. Oct. 26. Opens Fri. Oct. 27. 7:30 p.m. Thurs.-Sat., 2 p.m. Sat.-Sun. Ends Sun. Nov. 19.

Patrinell Wright An onstage interview with Wright, the leader of the Total Experience Gospel Choir and a mover and shaker in Intiman's annual holiday show, Black Nativity: A Gospel Song Play. Intiman Playhouse, 201 Mercer St., Seattle Center, 206-269-1900, $10. 7:30 p.m. Mon. Oct. 30 only.

Last Chance

7 Strangers: Season 3, Episode 2 The latest installment of this reality-theater spoof of MTV's Real World, in which audience members move freely through a house peopled by seven cast members. EXITheatre at 1812 12th Ave., 206-550-1268, $10. 8 p.m. Thurs.-Sat. Ends Sat. Oct. 28.

Arcadia Tom Stoppard's Olivier Award–winning play is a heady murder mystery that melds past and present while tackling a dizzying array of topics. Bainbridge Performing Arts at the Playhouse, 200 Madison Ave. N., Bainbridge Island, 206-842-8569, $15-$18. 7:30 p.m. Thurs.-Sat., 3 p.m. Sun. Ends Sun. Oct. 29.

Beautiful 3 Bdrm, 2 Ba on Capitol Hill Performance artist Megan Murphy imagines the perfect house in an empty lot, part of 4Culture's site-specific program. 1111 Pike St., 206-296-7580, Free. 6:30 p.m. Fri.-Sat. Ends Sat. Oct. 28. SANDRA KURTZ

Betrayal Harold Pinter's play begins as former lovers—in this case Emma (Heather Hawkins) and Jerry (Bob Borwick)—meet on neutral ground to sum up, in excruciating discomfort, all that has come to pass. From there, the play, directed by SPT associate artistic director Carole Roscoe, moves backward in time—like an exploded bomb rising up, sucking in shrapnel and collateral damage, and reintegrating. It's an autopsy of infidelity, no less distasteful for ending at the moment of seduction. Robert (Shawn Belyea) and Jerry are best friends from way back; Robert and Emma are married; Jerry and Emma commit adultery—they betray Robert, but not only Robert—in an affair long-standing enough to require a flat rented in secret, a lair of sex and lies. The cast, especially the excellent Hawkins, are adept at capturing the psychic damage inflicted by a sense of betrayal, a wounding that can turn around and lash out with unbounded nastiness. Unfortunately, SPT's production is all ashes and no inferno, with little evidence of even the most coldly calculating passion within and, more importantly, between the characters. Such remoteness is only exacerbated by the adoption of British accents, an utterly unnecessary contrivance that seems to create a serious gap in the actors' ability to connect to one another. Such a reliance on mimicry is symptomatic of an unwillingness to take hold of the material. SPT's production of Betrayal, whether over-reverential or too timid, commits a kind of self-betrayal. Seattle Public Theater, 7312 W. Greenlake Dr. N., 206-524-1300, $14-$24. 7:30 p.m. Thurs.-Sat., 2 p.m. Sun. Ends Sun. Oct. 29. RICHARD MORIN

Black Snow An adaptation of Russian author Mikhail Bulgakov's comic novel about a young writer whose failed novel is turned into a play. UW School of Drama at the Penthouse Theatre, UW campus, 206-543-4880, $8-$15. 7:30 p.m. Wed.-Sat., 2 p.m. Sun. Ends Sun. Oct. 29.

Dante's Inferno Actors and glassblowers combine their talents in this Halloween adaptation of Dante's exploration of hell. Hot Shop Amphitheater at the Museum of Glass, 1801 Dock St., Tacoma, 253-284-4750. $5-$10. 5:30 p.m. Fri.-Sun. Ends Sun. Oct. 29.

Dark Earth The art of puppetry depends on a suspension of disbelief—the stringpuller's ability to erase all trace of herself by transmitting her will into inanimate objects—and one of the real pleasures of watching Naked Puppets' Dark Earth is the virtual disappearance of the black-clad puppetmasters as they deftly breathe life into blocks of carved wood. Led by Argentinean-born Ariel Goldberger, this troupe of talented puppeteers appear bent on bringing their craft to more mature audiences. Dark Earth, a triptych of obtuse works loosely inspired by the Kabbalah, is lovely to behold but hell to grasp—a series of virtuoso performances whose dialogue-less narratives are little more than languorous ballets of nonsense. Hitched to a stronger story, one that does justice to their technical genius, Naked Puppets could really soar. Naked Puppets at THEATRE4, TPS at Seattle Center, 800-838-3006, $12-$16. 8 p.m. Fri.-Sat. Ends Sat. Oct. 28. RICHARD MORIN

Hogwash An improvised tale in which kids guide the "choose your own story" format. Jerk Alert Productions at the Historic University Theater, Historic University Theater, 5510 University Ave. N.E., 206-297-1767. $10. 2 p.m. Sat. Ends Sat. Oct. 28.

Lullaby Carriage Singer and composer Lucia Neare has created a dreamlike event, a trip in a horse-drawn canopy bed, as part of 4Culture's site-specific program. Vashon Hwy. S.W. and Bank Road, Vashon. Free. Dusk. Tues. Oct. 31.

NightStories: Lost & Found Professional actors read short stories on the theme of people and things that are lost and/or found. SecondStory Repertory at Redmond Town Center, 16587 N.E. 74th St., Redmond, 425-881-6777, $8. 8:30 p.m. Sat. Oct. 28 only.

Princess & the Pea Live music and audience participation mark this comic adaptation of the classic children's tale. Recommended for ages 4-12. Sprouts Children's Theatre at SecondStory Repertory, 16587 N.E. 74th St., Redmond, 425-881-6777, $8.75. 7 p.m. Fri., 1 & 3 p.m. Sat.-Sun. Ends Sun. Oct. 29.

Sweet Charity Molly Ringwald (director John Hughes' favorite redhead in such '80s teen comedy classics as The Breakfast Club and Pretty in Pink) stars as Charity Hope Valentine in this musical with a book by Neil Simon. Paramount Theater, 911 Pine St., 206-292-2787, $22-$70. 8 p.m. Wed.-Sun. Ends Sun. Oct. 29.

Continuing Runs

Campfire Audience stories of the unexplained—UFO abductions, odd coincidences, ghosts, recurring dreams—are turned into improvised campfire stories for the stage. Unexpected Productions at Market Theater, 1428 Post Alley, 206-325-6500, www.unexpected $10. 8 p.m. Fri.-Sat., also 8 p.m. Tues. Oct. 31. Ends Sun. Nov. 5.

Carlotta & the Curse of Wolf Manor A Halloween musical performed by the popular Wing Ding variety show troupe. Theatre Off Jackson, 409 Seventh Ave. S., 800-838-3006, $7.50-$15. Pay what you can Thurs. Oct. 26. 8 p.m. Thurs.-Sat. Ends Sat. Nov. 4.

The Cemetery club Three widows and a widower tanlge during monthly visits to their spouses' graves. Curtain Call Thetre at Northshore Senior Center, 10201 E. Riverside Dr., Bothell, 425-487-2441. $8-$10. 8 p.m. Fri. Oct. 27 & Nov. 10; 5:30 p.m. Sun. Oct. 29, Nov. 5 & 12.

The Colour Out Of Space Three cleverly interlocking stories based on the tales and elaborate invented mythos of H.P. Lovecraft: A meteorite disrupts (and destroys) a farm couple's lives; a young student is driven by his succubus-esque fiancée to research mysterious woodland rites (and is destroyed); a hambone vaudeville magician stumbles on some true and hideous magical power (and is destroyed). Like the original short stories, these adaptations by Maggie Lee and Ron Sandahl build . . . suspense . . . very . . . slowly . . . but be patient, the payoffs are worth it. Theater on a shoestring doesn't get any shoestringier than this; the show's a triumph of imagination and skill over a tiny budget—or as Lovecraft would have put it, a budget infinitesimal, unspeakable, and unholy, which no sane creature could endure!!!Open Circle Theater, 429 Boren Ave. N., 206-382-4250, $13. 8 p.m. Thurs.-Sat., 3 p.m. Sun. Ends Sat. Nov. 11.

Company SEE REVIEW, WWW.SEATTLEWEEKLY.COM. 5th Avenue Theatre, 1308 Fifth Ave., 206-625-1900, $20-$73. 7:30 p.m. Tues.-Wed., 8 p.m. Thurs.-Fri., 2 & 8 p.m. Sat., 1:30 & 7 p.m. Sun. Ends Sun. Nov. 5.

Diva Daughters Dupree Three daughters reunite with their husbands in their family home 10 years after their parents' death in this dramatic comedy by Kim Yvonne Euell. Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center, 104 17th Ave. S., 206-386-1177, $18-$22. 7 p.m. Thurs.-Fri., 2 & 7 p.m. Sat., 7 p.m. Sun. Ends Sun. Nov. 5.

Fuh-Geddaboudit Dinner theater with various audience-participation "survival" games that give comic instruction on life in the mafia, including how to perform a proper hit and how to survive FBI surveillance. Includes a four-course Italian dinner. Julia's on Broadway, 300 Broadway E., 206-860-1818, $44.90. 6:30 p.m. Sun. Open run.

Harriet's Halloween Candy A talented cast gets as much mileage as possible out of a rather thin plot about a girl who hoards her Halloween candy, eventually to discover that friendship trumps selfishness. The best part of the play is its toe-tapping tunes, sung with especial verve by Liz McCarthy's Harriet. The actors know how to ham it up to make the little ones laugh, as in a well-played scene when Harriet and her friends hit upon the home of a dentist. The set is magically spooky. While the plot may not be riveting, it does the job. Your kids may leave the theater, as mine did, saying, "You know, I feel like Harriet sometimes." Recommended for ages 5 and up. Seattle Children's Theatre, Seattle Center, 206-441-4488, $16-$32. 7 p.m. Fri., 2 & 5:30 p.m. Sat.-Sun. Ends Sun. Nov. 12. NINA SHAPIRO

Jason & the Golden Fleece John Olive's adaptation of the ancient Greek myth of Jason and the Argonauts, directed by Rita Giomi. Seattle Children's Theatre, Seattle Center, 206-441-4488, $16-$32. 7 p.m. Fri., 2 & 5:30 p.m. Sat.-Sun. Ends Sun. Nov. 26.

Late Nite Catechism Maripat Donovan's one-woman show explains everything you wanted to know about the Catholic faith, but were too scared you'd get rapped across the knuckles to ask. ACT Theatre, 700 Union St., 206-292-7676, $24.50-$29.50. 8 p.m. Thurs.-Sat., 2 p.m. Sun. Open run.

Menopause: The Musical Jeanie Linders' tuneful celebration of That Time of Life is back at ACT Theatre, 700 Union St., 206-292-7676, $45. 7:30 p.m. Wed.-Fri., 2 & 5:30 p.m. Sat.-Sun. Ends Jan. 31.

Native Son Kent Gash's adaptation of Richard Wright's 1940 novel, a landmark examination of racism, poverty, and powerlessness. Intiman Theater, 201 Mercer St., Seattle Center, 206-269-1900. 8 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 7:30 p.m. Tues.-Thurs. & Sun.; also 2 p.m. matinees most Sat. & Sun., and Wed. Nov. 8. Ends Sun. Nov. 19.

Seattle Novyi Theatre This theater troupe, led by artistic director Leonid Anisimov and practicing the Stanislavski System of performance, stages two revolving works by Chekhov, Uncle Vanya and The Seagull. SNT at Act in Class, 12301 Sandpoint Way N.E., 800-838-3006, $10-$12. Check for titles and dates.

Singin' in the Rain One of the great all-time musicals about the changeover in Hollywood from silent to talking motion pictures ("I caaan't staaand 'im!"). Dinner available 90 minutes before the show. Auburn Avenue Theater, 10 Auburn Ave., Auburn, 253-833-5678, $17.50-$46.95. 8 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 4 p.m. Sun. Ends Sat. Nov. 11.

Thom Pain (based on nothing) Imagine you went to an open-mike night and one guy took over the stage for hours without really intending to. Thom Pain (based on nothing) feels like that. Thom (Todd Jefferson Moore) is the play's only character, on a humble quest to dissect his childhood, his past relationship, and his place in the world. For 70-odd minutes, Thom, a more morose version of "Seinfeld"'s Kramer, presents a tale that's interrupted by a cavalcade of random thoughts, such as "Do you like magic?" and (to an audience member) "I have that shirt at home." Audience members aren't sure how to respond when addressed—silence is the typical answer, or at least it was at a recent performance. Thom's main soliloquy loosely tracks his boyhood as he loses a dog, a trauma that changes him on a deeper level and presents a point from which to examine his later life and lost love. Sometimes sort-of funny, sometimes profound, sometimes way too disjointed, this play will either you leave you saying "Isn't life ugly but ultimately amazing?" or "What the hell was that?" Written by Will Eno and directed by Jerry Manning. Seattle Repertory Theatre, Seattle Center, 206-443-2222, $10-$48. 7:30 p.m. Tues.-Fri., 2 & 7:30 p.m. Sat., 2 p.m. Sun.; also 2 p.m. Wed. Nov. 1. Ends Sun. Nov. 5. MOLLY LORI

Tick, tick . . . BOOM! Before tragically dying of an aortic aneurism at 36, Rent creator Jonathan Larson wrote an autobiographical dramatic monologue about trying to succeed as a rock composer. After Larson's death Tick, Tick . . . Boom! was made over into a musical for three actors. It is a reflection on the importance (or not) of making it before the clock strikes thirty, with equal parts indulgent brooding and vaudevillian camp. As Honest Abe once said, "People who like this sort of thing will find this the sort of thing they like." Actors Nick DeSantis (Jonathan), John W. Bartley (Michael), and Jessica Skerritt (Susan) are obviously talented, deftly morphing into characters that range from Jon's emphysematic agent to his well-intentioned pipe-smoking father. The explosive energy of ambitious twentysomethings (going on thirty) would have been better conveyed in a larger space that allowed for more expansive choreography, but Tick, Tick . . . Boom! nevertheless works well as a letter to a young playwright—warts and all. As a historical predecessor to what was Larson's one and only Broadway sensation, it aptly demonstrates the bumps that occur on the road to success. ArtsWest, 4711 California Ave. S.W., $10-$29. 7:30 p.m. Thurs.-Sat.; 2 p.m. matinees Sat. Oct. 28, Sun. Oct. 29, Sat. Nov. 4. Ends Sat. Nov. 4. SUZANNE BEAL

The Underpants Delightfully crude and yet complex, Steve Martin's adaptation of Carl Sternheim's 1910 play sticks close to the subject matter at hand: panties. After demure housefrau Louise (Julie Briskman) accidentally drops her drawers in public, her world turns upside down. Though she reassures her admonishing prude of a husband Theo (Richard Ziman), Louise finds herself a temporary celebrity when several would-be suitors come calling. Posing as renters, they pursue her beneath Theo's nose, hoping for a closer look at the elusive underpants. Louise's balloon-like pantaloons are absurdly unarousing by today's standards but their effect is timeless—when "flesh speaks to men" all self-control goes out the window. Darkly comedic, The Underpants contrasts the liberating glee of Louise's furtive sexual awakening with her sadly disempowered and mundane existence. Acting as an accomplice, upstairs neighbor Gertrude (Marianne Owen) drops enough beautifully executed raunchy one-liners to make even Louise realize there's more to life than cooking up her husband's wiener. It's much lighter fare than director Kurt Beattie's other recent undertaking at ACT, Mitzi's Abortion, and undoubtedly their most comedic mainstage production this season. ACT's cast enjoys running away with Martin's bawdy, subversive script, so it's impossible for audiences not to. ACT Theatre, 700 Union St., 206-292-7676, $10-$54. 7:30 p.m. Tues.-Thurs., 8 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 7:30 p.m. Sun.; 2 p.m. matinees Thurs. Oct. 26, Sun. Oct. 29, Sat. Nov. 4, Sun. Nov. 5 & 12. Ends Sun. Nov. 12. KAT ORTLAND

W(h)acked Seattle playwright Stephanie Timm's "immorality play" about five murderous women. Live Girls! Theater, 2220 N.W. Market St., 800-838-8006, $10-$15. 8 p.m. Thurs.-Fri., 4 & 8 p.m. Sat. Ends Sat. Nov. 18.

Cabaret & Variety

The Bedroom Club A show harkening back to the heyday of burlesque, featuring live music, sketch comedy, and dessert. Burning Hearts Burlesque at the Northwest Actors Studio, 1100 E. Pike St., 206-898-9067,, $10-$15. 10 p.m. Thurs. Open run.

Burlesque Behind the Pink Door Upcoming performers include Babette La Fave and Miss Indigo Blue. 21 and over. The Pink Door, 1919 Post Alley, 206-443-3241, $10. 10:30 p.m. Sat. Open run.

Columbia City Cabaret It's the last steamy show of their run: "One more hot Musical excursion with COCKTET, what a way to go! Miss Gay Latina 2005 and 2006 CHICA BOOM invokes The Day of the Dead in Living Color! SHEU SHEU LE HEUERE the Naughty Chanteuse will compel us to barely legal octave changes, and TAMARA is rigging as much as the rafters will bear. Expect Special Guests and Ghostly Luminaries! Don't Miss it or you'll be Haunted!" Columbia City Theatre, 4916 Rainier Ave. S., 206-605-9920. $15. 6 p.m. Sun. Oct. 29.

Mark Cotter This New York City crooner makes his Seattle debut. Crepe de Paris, 1333 Fifth Ave., 206-623-4111. 8 p.m. Thurs.-Sat. Ends Sat. Oct. 28.

Le Faux Julia's newest drag show, starring Seattle's finest female impersonators. Julia's on Broadway, 300 Broadway E., 206-334-0513, $10. 10:30 p.m. Sat. Ends Nov. 25.

Girl Trouble Burlesque Saucy girls showing their underthings in "Spreading the Joy, Part II." Jewel Box Theater at the Rendezvous, 2322 Second Ave. $15. 8 p.m. Fri. Oct. 27.

Halloween Socialist Slap Dance Party Come dressed as your favorite Commie, and get your pic taken with Castro, at this fundraiser thrown by the Washington Ensemble Theatre. Havana, 101 E. Pike St. Suggested donation $10-$13. 8 p.m. Thurs. Oct. 26.

Hocus Pocus Burlesque! With Babette La Fave, Pidgeon Von Tramp of the Von Foxies, Ginger Snapz from the Queen Bees, and others. Jewel Box Theater at the Rendezvous, 2322 Second Ave. $10. 7:30 & 9 p.m. Mon. Oct. 30.

MEOW of the Living Dead Macha Monkey's quarterly cabaret goes zombie-themed for Halloween, with host Kate Jaeger, spoken-word artist La Nell Guiste, and Randy Rodd, the Buttrock God. 21 and over. Jewel Box Theater at the Rendezvous, 2322 Second Ave., $5 w/costume, $10 for party poopers. 7:30 p.m. Tues. Oct. 31.

Sinner Saint Burlesque Weekly revue hosted by Mr. Dane Ballard. SSB at Noc Noc, 1516 Second Ave., $5. 10 p.m. Thurs. Open run.

Teatro ZinZanni: The Trickster's Trunk Latest installment of the big-top dinner theater, featuring actor/singer/dancer Melanie Stace and opera singer Rachel DeShon. Teatro ZinZanni, 2301 Sixth Ave., 206-802-0015, $104-$155. 6:30 Thurs.-Sun. Ends Jan. 21.

Sketches & Stand-Up

Comedy Underground The long-running humor hangout spotlights seasoned pros as well as up-and-comers. Tuesday at 8:30 is Non-Profit Comedy ($10), benefiting a revolving list of causes and institutions. 222 S. Main St., 206-628-0303,, $6-$15. See Web site for dates and times.

Giggles Comedy Club Stand-up comedians and other entertainers from around the area and across the country. Thursday is a free open-mike night; Sunday is a free "Comedy Showcase"; Friday and Saturday feature headliners. 5220 Roosevelt Way N.E., 206-526-JOKE, See Web site for specific date, time, and price info.

Jet City Improv Funny, fast-paced theater based on audience suggestions, including Cupcake, Fridays at midnight:30; "Twisted Flicks," bad movies with improvised dialogue; and The Haunted Hut, their special Halloween show, Tues. Oct. 31. Historic University Theater, 5510 University Ave. N.E., 206-352-8291, See Web site for dates and times. Open run.

* Pork Filled PlayersGo East, Young Ham! is this Asian-American sketch comedy troupe's latest show. Richard Hugo House, 1634 11th Ave., 206-325-6500,, $6-$9. Opens Fri. Oct. 27. 10:30 pm. Fri.-Sat. Ends Fri. Nov. 17.

Unexpected Productions Various shows including TheatreSports, competitive improv since 1983, and Market Fresh Improv. Market Theatre, 1428 Post Alley, 206-587-2414, See Web site for dates, times, and prices. Open run.

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