Edited by Randall Barton
'The Retreat From Moscow'
Two kinds of insanity, kept alive over three decades, conspire to destroy a marriage in this riveting production at Artists Repertory Theatre.
The more obvious pathology afflicts Alice (JoAnn Johnson), a middle-age English poet and wife of a university professor. We never really learn what inspired the joyless, controlling behavior she visits upon her husband, Edward (Keith Scales).
We do know he has submitted to a paralyzing disease of his own, an unwillingness to defend himself or confront the corrosive malaise that has settled in.
There is nothing especially rare about the maladies in question, nor is the path the couple will take particularly surprising. But everything else in this production of William Nicholson's brilliant play is a revelation.
It's one of the best plays on the Portland stage this season.
- Eric Bartels
8 p.m. FRIDAY and SATURDAY, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. SUNDAY, 8 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, through April 29, Artists Repertory Theatre Mainstage, 1516 S.W. Alder St., 503-241-1278, www.artistsrep.org, $20-$42.50
'The Sisters Rosensweig'
Wendy Wasserstein's play about three Brooklyn-bred sisters is the third production of Profile Theatre's yearlong celebration of the late playwright.
After fine productions of both 'An American Daughter' and the Pulitzer Prize-winning 'The Heidi Chronicles,' this rather downbeat comedy cannot help but fall a bit short by comparison.
This follow-up to 'Heidi' shows Wasserstein at her peak, the astute chronicler of a certain stratum of American culture: women striving for completion and companionship in the high-pressure world of educated professionals on the East Coast of the '90s.
But that's also what makes 'Sisters' feel a bit time- and place-specific now: It's a little too high end, a little too East Coast and, mostly, a little too '90s. Louis Auchincloss as the punch line to a joke?
8 p.m. FRIDAY and SATURDAY, 2 p.m. SUNDAY, 8 p.m. Thursday, through April 22, Theater Theatre, 3430 S.E. Belmont St., 503-242-0080, $10-$28
Eleven actresses tell women's stories through monologue and movement in the West Coast premiere of Jonn Jorgensen's original work.
It's produced in collaboration with the Bluestockings, a year-old Portland collective dedicated to showcasing female talent.
8 p.m. FRIDAY and SATURDAY, through April 14, Theater Theatre, 3430 S.E. Belmont St., 503-274-9309, $12-$16
It's the last chance to see Tom Stoppard's dizzyingly intelligent and funny comedy.
Keith Scales directs an impressive cast, which doesn't miss a beat in this deeply satisfying time-traveler by the award-winning British playwright.
8 p.m. FRIDAY and SATURDAY, April 6-7, Lakewood Center for the Arts, 368 S. State St., Lake Oswego, 503-635-3901, $23-$25
'The Long Voyage Home'
Arts Equity Theatre offers four early one-acts by Eugene O'Neill, all with maritime themes.
7:30 p.m. FRIDAY and SATURDAY, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, through April 22, 606 Main St., Vancouver, Wash., 1-360-695-3770, www.artsequity.org, $8-$24
Dancemaker Minh Tran presents a work based on a trip he made to Cambodia in 2004, where he walked in the footsteps of a murderous regime than exterminated one-fifth of the country's population in the 1970s.
Film and original music illuminate the work.
7:30 p.m. FRIDAY, 7:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. SATURDAY, April 6-7, Wonder Ballroom, 128 N.E. Russell St., 503-284-8686, www.mtdance.org, $20-$22; also available through Ticketmaster (503-790-2787), subject to service charges
'Pushing Buttons and Saving Lives'
The comedy collective Fishbowl Catharsis completes a three-week run with 10 sketches based on its unique, if not bizarre, perspective on things.
10:30 p.m. SATURDAY, April 7, Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center, 5340 N. Interstate Ave., 503-823-4322, $6