* For the first time since the mid-'50s, actress Luise Rainer will appear on an American stage. Rainer, best known for her performance as Olan in "The Good Earth," will perform Oct. 1-3 as part of a special guests series with the American Repertory Theatre at Harvard's Loeb Center. (A.R.T. is the theater started by Robert Brustein when he left Yale for Harvard.) Rainer will give a dramatic reading of "Enoch Arden," a poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson, performed to music of Richard Strauss. . .

* Barbra Streisand may get a chance to go into therapy if producer Keith Barish has his way. Barish, who produced the Brooke Shields movie "Endless Love," has obtained the rights to D. M. Thomas' novel "The White Hotel" and according to New York magazine says he'd like to see Streisand in the lead. At least part of the story has the character Streisand would play in analysis with Sigmund Freud himself. Barish hasn't said who he wants in that role, but Kris Kristofferson has the right facial hair for the part. . .

* Tennesee Williams' new play will open in New York Aug. 24. The theater is located on the Bowery -- not Broadway -- and the only lights are the reflections of street lamps in the shards of broken cheap wine bottles. "Something Cloudy, Something Clear" will be performed at the Bouwerie Lane Theatre by the Jean Cocteau Repertory Company. The play is about, surprise, memory. . .

* How can arts institutions deal with budget cuts? In England, where they have had several years to find out, the Old Vic and the Mermaid theaters, two venerable and financially troubled institutions, have gotten into the real estate business. They're developing, with the help of real estate companies, some of their production space into office space . . . Wonder what the Corcoran's air rights are worth? . . .

* Fathers and sons: David Niven starts filming "Menage a Trois" in Nice this week with Maggie Smith and Art Carney. The film is being produced by David Niven Jr.. . .