Mike Daisey is, at various times, an improvisational storyteller, a big-hearted observer, a lonely expositor of self or a sweat-drenched haranguer from the stage; the term he prefers for this is “monologist.” This is to say, he sits onstage, perilously alone, and talks without a script. It is not comedy, though it is often funny. It is also not theater, though he often speaks with wild performative emphasis (this intensity is amplified by his mammoth, imposing frame and equally mammoth, imposing forehead). What Daisey offers is the opportunity to see an engaging mind at work and play; every performance I’ve seen has been intelligent, punctuated with gripping recognitions and dullish languors, but always brimming with life. He’s made a home out of the Time-Based Art Festival for three years now, but this year it’s a full-fledged talk-in. In his appropriately named All the Hours of the Day, he’ll be up there for 24 straight hours. What once was intimacy will be stretched into endurance, a Last Tango in Portland in which we test the limits of just how much understanding we can all bear together. The program notes compare this endeavor to Scheherazade’s 1001 Nights, and perhaps this is appropriate. The Arabian stories were told to fend off death itself, and a day-long monologue is a no-less-desperate feat. But from this desperation comes, hopefully, something that endures far beyond the telling. Bathroom and meal breaks are, nonetheless, promised. MATTHEW KORFHAGE. Washington High School, Southeast Stark Street and 14th Avenue. 6 pm Saturday-6 pm Sunday, Sept. 17-18. $40. Zoe/Juniper, A Crack in Everything
Eerie, ominous soundscape? Check. Bizarre video projections? Check. Nudity and people barking like dogs? Check and check. This fascinating collaboration between Seattle choreographer Zoe Scofield and visual artist Juniper Shuey contains many of the usual tropes of avant garde multimedia performance—it just does ’em better than a lot of other shows. Scofield’s sinuous movements and unsettling tableaux, from a man straining on a red dog’s leash to a spotlight capturing a lone figure methodically tracing the shape of her own body on a blackboard, are supremely weird. And Shuey makes eye-catching playthings of light and sound, most notably a smoke cloud that twists and writhes along with the dancers. In some ways A Crack in Everything, which is ostensibly about “the liminal space between action/reaction, cause/effect and before/after” (whatever that means) is far more a mood or dream than a dance. It may also be a nightmare, but it’s a beautiful one. KELLY CLARKE. Lincoln Hall, 1620 SW Park Ave. 8:30 pm Thursday-Saturday, Sept. 15-17. $20. Big Terrific!
Brooklyn’s weekly comedy showcase Big Terrific! often promotes itself by dropping the names of the heavyweight comics who’ve performed under its banner over the past three years, stars such as Zach Galifianakis, Sarah Silverman and Aziz Ansari. Wise publicity move, but it ignores the true reason the show earned a Best of New York nod in New York Magazine: the improvisational chemistry of its trio of hosts. Of the three, the most recognizable is ex-Saturday Night Live cast member Jenny Slate, whose most memorable moment on the show was detonating an F-bomb in her first episode. She’s more than a network television castoff, though. GQ labeled her “the Princess of Twee Potty Humor,” the “twee” part borne out in her adorably funny Web short, Marcel the Shell with Shoes On, which she’s developing into a children’s book and TV series. Stand-ups Gabe Liedman and Max Silvestri don’t have the SNL credit, but both have expanding profiles in the underground comedy world. Together, they have grown Big Terrific! into a developmental league of sorts for East Coast comics looking to experiment in front of willing audiences. As for their own collaborative performances, it often looks less like practiced bits than three friends trying to crack each other up. MATTHEW SINGER. Washington High School, Southeast Stark Street and 14th Avenue. 10:30 pm Friday, Sept. 16. $8. 21+. Andrew Dinwiddie, Get Mad at Sin!
Call it a “cover sermon”: In Get Mad at Sin!, actor Andrew Dinwiddie faithfully (ahem) recreates a fiery evangelical rant by America’s original rock-star preacher, Jimmy Swaggart. Taken from an out-of-print recording released in 1971, the tirade is filled with dated references to the evils of miniskirts, the Beatles and the White Panther Party, but Dinwiddie’s one-man show isn’t played for ironic laughs. If there’s any irony to be had, it’s that Swaggart’s astounding oratorical skills and theatrical flair transformed his fundamentalist ravings against popular culture into its own form of show biz. Removed from any true religious context, Dinwiddie’s powerful performance captures a moralizer who was at odds with his own beliefs long before a late ’80s sex scandal made his hypocrisy public. Dressed in a beige suit and tie, Dinwiddie paces the stage, gesticulating wildly as he denounces drugs and homosexuality and advocates horsewhipping parents who allow rock ’n’ roll records into their home. The heavy-handed rhetoric is bound to induce chuckles from a knowing audience of non-believers, but the fact that these are the words of a once-influential man—and words many still take to heart today—makes the performance more frightening than funny. MATTHEW SINGER. Washington High School, Southeast Stark Street and 14th Avenue. 6:30 pm Wednesday-Saturday, Sept. 14-17. $20. Whoop Dee Doo
Describing a children’s show as being “on acid” isn’t very helpful—it’s hard to name a program aimed at kids that doesn’t appear to be under the influence of a mind-altering substance—but the lysergic inspiration is particularly strong with Kansas City’s Whoop Dee Doo. A typical show overloads the senses with colors, music and bugged-out costumes; it’s as if the Flaming Lips took over the programming at Nickelodeon. Then again, there really isn’t such a thing as a “typical” Whoop Dee Doo show. It’s a variety show with an emphasis on variety. Since it started in 2006, co-founders and hosts Matt Roche and Jaimie Warren—he plays a soft-spoken werewolf, she wears a red spandex outfit adorned with empty food packages—have welcomed everyone from dancing grannies and drag queens to bodybuilders, gospel singers and Civil War re-enactors. (When it staged a production in Sweden, the group held a “hugging contest” with a death-metal band.) It might sound anarchic, but Whoop Dee Doo’s philosophy is rooted in community involvement: In every city it visits, the company works with local kids to help design sets and put together the live show. For TBA, the group collaborated with PICA and mentoring organization Caldera. Expect, well, anything. MATTHEW SINGER. Washington High School, Southeast Stark Street and 14th Avenue. 1 and 4 pm Saturday, Sept. 17. Free.
SEE IT: Tickets to all TBA performances may be purchased at PICA’s box office on the campus of Washington High School, at the corner of Southeast Stark Street and 14th Avenue, by phone at 224-7422, or online at pica.org. Individual tickets are $5-$40, festival passes cost between $45 and $250.