The Whipping Man
Gerding Theater: Tue–Sun at 7:30, Sun at 2
"After premiering off-Broadway in 2011, The Whipping Man rapidly made its playwright, Matthew Lopez, a hot ticket. (The play is currently one of the most produced in the country, with 15 stagings slated for this season.) Lopez deserves the success; the parallels he draws between the Jewish and African-American experiences are positively inspired. For instance, during the play's climactic scene, a Passover seder that gorgeously syncretizes the traditional ceremony and African-style call and response, Simon breaks several times into “Go Down, Moses”—a Negro spiritual inspired by the Israelite exodus from slavery and sung today by many Jews as part of the seder..." Read our full review.
Theater! Theatre!: Wed–Sat at 7:30, Sun at 2
"Athol Fugard’s 1961 play, Blood Knot, was so controversial in his native South Africa that, after a single performance, authorities arrested its two interracial actors, banned the play, and passed censorship laws prohibiting racially mixed casts and audiences. After its 1967 premiere on British television, they revoked Fugard’s passport and subjected him to frequent interrogation, backing down only after four years of public petition. After seeing Profile Theatre’s intimate, intense production, it’s easy to imagine why. Still potent today, the play was no doubt like tearing atoms during the height of apartheid..." Read our full review.
The Merry Wives of Windsor
Venetian Theater: Thu–Sun at 7:30
Bag & Baggage artistic director Scott Palmer has rescued the scraps of playwright John Dennis’s Shakespeare-cribbing script about loutish Shakespearean ladies man Falstaff, and breathed new intrigue into his “amorous adventures” by setting the play in a '50s television sitcom, complete with a theme song, savvy product placement, and a black-and-white set.
The Velvet Sky
Theater! Theatre!: Thu–Sat at 8
Finally, a fairy tale for grownups courtesy of Theatre Vertigo. Written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (a Glee writer with comic book experience who has earned the title of multimedia polymath), the story follows an insomniac woman who abandons the stability of reality for an unsettling expedition through a nightmarish urban landscape in search of her kidnapped 12-year-old son.
Hollywood Theatre: Thu–Sun, see website for schedule
Portland Oregon Women's film festival is definitely not a chick-flick fest where every movie is about a plucky girl in a scrunchie facing a daunting list of personal woes before she triumphs in the end. Instead, POW will celebrate the works of honored guest, director Penelope Spheeris (Decline of Western Civilization, Suburbia), and preview local filmmaker Jackie Weissman's documentary, Rock N Roll Mamas, which chronicles successful indie rockers as they balance life on the road with the joys of parenthood. And that's just the tip of the iceberg! (Read our crazy candid review with Spheeris, ranging from growing up in a trailer park to making $2.5 million for directing Beverly Hillbillies).
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall: Fri at 9
Whether the former Smiths lead singer is better known for his beefs with celebrity fur worshippers or for his artistic success as a phenomenally popular singer and songwriter is debatable. In any case, Morrissey’s charming, enigmatic showmanship has permanently ensconced him as the patron saint of an equally charming, enigmatic audience.
Doug Fir Lounge: Fri at 9
It's not quite “Sweet Home Alabama,” but the country collective Maldives are union men from Seattle that sound every bit as broke down and lonesome as any Hank Williams protagonist. Savor a pail full of windshield tears and regret with songs like “Darkness Follows,” “Someday Baby,” and “Tequila Sunday”. We foresee a meet-cute between Portland’s cloud people and the Maldives’ cry-blue anthems.
BodyVox: Thu–Sat at 7:30; Sat at 2
Meet the next generation of talented terpsichoreans under the tutelage of artistic directors Jamey Hampton and Ashley Roland, as BodyVox-2 rolls out a program that includes world premiere works from Hampton, OBT's interim director Anne Mueller, and up-and-comer Éowyn Emerald.
Conduit Dance: Sat at 8
The Seattle-based company, directed by Cyrus Khambatta, performs four pieces from its repertoire. Ballet roots and modern traditions give life to the troupe's contact improvisation, partnering, and polished dexterity.
Chris Fraser: In Passing
Disjecta: Fri–Sun noon–5
"In Passing closes this weekend, so let’s cut to the chase: if you haven’t seen it, you need to load the family in the car, grab your Max pass, or hop on your rain-slicked bicycle and peddle your winter-light-craving self up to Disjecta—double time. This is one of those rare shows capable of generating sheer and utter joy across demographics, from stodgy art veteran to those who find art inaccessible and pretentious to seven year olds..." Fraser talks on Sat at 6pm, followed by a party until 10pm. Read our full review here.
Wood Anniversary: Five Years of Signal Fire
Art Gym: Thu–Sun noon–4
Each year, environmentally minded artist Ryan Pierce and conservationist Amy Harwood give 13 creatives the chance to create one-of-a-kind art while camping out in four distinct Oregon terrains in order to bond the artist to the land. P
For more on Portland arts and culture, sign up for our weekly On The Town newsletter, subscribe to our RSS feed, and follow us on Twitter @PoMoArt. Visit our Arts & Entertainment Calendar for our editors’ event picks.