The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant 

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In this early play, Rainer Werner Fassbinder depicts the obsession a spoiled fashion designer, Petra von Kant, has with ambitious, self-absorbed model Karin. When Fassbinder filmed his play in 1972, one critic said he treated it with such languorous, moody reserve that it turned into a "lesbian slumber party." Wisely, Trap Door Theatre directors Beata Pilch and Krishna LeFan don't follow that path in this production (though they emulate the film's beguilingly anachronistic Weimaresque costumes). Instead they opt for the chaotic playfulness that typified Fassbinder's stage work with Munich's Action Theater. It takes nearly half of the show's 90 minutes for its stylized approach to underscore rather than undermine the drama, but ultimately Nicole Wiesner as Petra and Kim McKean as the inscrutable Karin give this hilarious and heartbreaking tale of romantic obsession a searing clarity. a Through 11/4: Thu-Sat 8 PM, Trap Door Theatre, 1655 W. Cortland, 773-384-0494, $20, two for one Thu.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Michal Janicki.

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