Correction: Fassbinder wrote this story in the 1970s, not the pre-war early 20th century as I mistakenly mentioned in the video.
This modern take of Fassbinder’s 1972 movie features a cast of local emerging artists. But even though they’re all quite young, they handle the mature and multilayered themes that run throughout this play with skill and authenticity.
This plot follows two female lovers as they navigate the boundary between love and ownership. This is not a play about the challenges LGBT lovers face specifically so much as a story that anyone who has ever been in love or lust can relate to.
Especially compelling was the performance of Shelby Satterthwaite, who plays the role of Petra’s assistant. Satterthwaite is proof of that popular theatre trope that there are no small roles, only small actors. And in her role as Petra’s assistant, Satterthwaite is anything but small. She has no lines, but is on stage at all times, and the expressions she lets her character make are the most accurate indicator of Petra’s truth and lies at all times during this play.
Be ready to for the sort of drama that doesn’t leave you rolling your eyes, interrupted by moments of comedy that land just right. This show is a must for any film buffs and those who have always felt that gender roles fit them just a little too tight.
The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant by Midtwenties Theatre Society is playing at the VanCIty Culture Lab as part of the Dramatic Work Series in the 2018 Vancouver Fringe Festival.
~ reviewed by Elizabeth Goode
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