Site-specific Petra at Southwark

Published April 17, 2008

A new site-specific version of The Bitter Tears Of Petra Von Kant is to be performed at the newly re-homed Southwark Playhouse this December. The theatre is now housed in the bowels of London Bridge Station among the sprawling railway arches, and it is here that the modern tragedy of power, desire and obsession will be performed. The cast is led by Sasha Behar, best known for her role as Maya Sharma in Coronation Street.

Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s play, presented at the Southwark Playhouse in a new translation by David Tushingham, follows fashion designer Petra, a successful, controlling woman who lives with her suffering assistant Marlene. But the power in the relationships starts to shift when Petra falls for the beautiful model Karin.

Though it started life as a play before being made into a film, The Bitter Tears Of Petra Von Kant was last seen in London as an opera. Composer Gerald Barry worked with director Richard Jones to produce the piece for the English National Opera in 2005.

In addition to her time on Coronation Street between 2003 and 2004, Behar has also worked extensively on stage, in particular with the Royal Shakespeare Company, with whom her credits include The Malcontent, Eastward Ho and The Island Princess. Joining Behar in the cast are Naomi Taylor, Deirdra Morris, Clara Perez, Mabel Aitken and Anna Egseth.

The production is directed by Yvonne McDevitt, who was granted an award ‘unprecedented for an individual’ by the Arts Council of England to stage The Bitter Tears Of Petra Von Kant. After beginning her career as a staff director at the Royal Court and National Theatre, McDevitt has worked extensively across Europe, most recently as Artistic Director of the experimental OSLO group.

The Bitter Tears Of Petra Von Kant runs at the Southwark Playhouse from 6 December to 5 January (press night 10 December).

MA