The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant

A stunning study of a woman torn apart by desire for another woman


Through March 6

Tickets are $15-18 (Thursdays are two-for-one)


Last Planet Theatre, 351 Turk (between Hyde and Leavenworth), S.F.

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The actors in Last Planet Theatre's latest offering spend the first half of Rainer Werner Fassbinder's stunning character study of a woman torn apart by desire for another woman shedding tears of laughter, and the second half shedding tears of despair. Performed with a delicacy and precision that give the play an almost mystical feel, Tears tells the story of an affluent, Cologne-based fashion designer and divorcee who falls in love with (and tries to possess) an unrefined yet captivating ingénue. John Wilkins' sensitive direction draws out the emotional language of Fassbinder's play: In the same way that the jewellike set is divided between Petra's opulent, warm apartment and the barren, snowy landscape outside, so does Petra (the brilliantly loucheKathryn Wood) swing from joy to depression in a single swoop. Fassbinder might be better known as a filmmaker -- of German postwar classics like The Marriage of Maria Braun -- than as a playwright, but this intricate production demonstrates his innate understanding of the stage.

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