"a fascinating rococo experiment in power" - Hilton Als (The New Yorker Magazine)

“exuberant staging...blurs the line between the reality of the play and the reality we live in. Third Space has surely created something that will stir up conversation and force the audience to leave with lingering questions. It’s a disturbing story that encourages discussion on gender roles and reflects a lot of our society’s dormant issues.” - Ran Xia (Theater is Easy)

"gorgeous production...Scenic Designer Bryce Cutler and Costume Designer Emily Chalmers do some dazzling work here, creating a shimmering and gaudy atmosphere befitting Petra’s flamboyant personality. Her living room and clothes are an orgiastic disco nightmare that make the tiny New Ohio Theatre look sprawling.” - Eric J Grimm (Theater Pizzazz)

“imaginatively staged” - Simon Saltzman (Curtain Up Review)

When a new model, Karin, enters the home of famous fashion designer Petra von Kant, Petra's world -- and career -- rocket to manic heights. But in the midst of Petra’s euphoria, her submissive assistant, Marlene, senses a threat. When Karin becomes a superstar, leaving everything behind, Marlene is left picking up the broken pieces. What Marlene does with those pieces will dictate the rest of her life. Featuring an all-female cast, The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant delves into the tortured connections between desire and power in an industry driven by consumption.


Written by:

Rainer Werner Fassbinder


David Tushingham


Benjamin Viertel

Scenic Designer: 

Bryce Cutler

Costume Designer

Emily Chalmers

Lighting Designer:

Mary-Ellen Stebbins

Sound Designer: 

Almeda Beynon


Olivia O'Connor

Production Stage Manager: 

Kelly Hartnett

Associate Producers: 

Lio Sigerson

Press Agent: 

Kippy Winston


as Gabrielle von     Kant


as Marlene


as Karin Thimm     


as Petra von Kant

Screen Shot 2017-01-15 at 4.31.03 PM.png


as Sidonie von Grasenabb


as Valerie von Kant

RAINER WERNER FASSBINDER (Playwright) was a German movie director, screenwriter, playwright and actor. He is considered one of the most important representatives of the New German Cinema. Fassbinder’s theater career began in 1967, when he joined the Munich action-theater and became active as an actor, director and playwright. After two months, he became the company’s leader. In April 1968 Fassbinder directed the premiere production of his play: “Katzelmacher”, the story about a foreign worker from Greece, who becomes the object of intense racial, sexual, and political hatred among Bavarian men, while exerting a strangely troubling fascination on the women. A few weeks later, in May 1968, the Action Theater was disbanded after its theater was wrecked by one of its founders, disapproving of Fassbinder’s growing power within the group. It promptly reformed as the Anti-Theater under Fassbinder’s direction. The troupe lived and performed together. Within eighteen months he directed twelve plays, four of these he wrote himself and five he rewrote. The style of his stage directing closely resembled that of his early films, a mixture of choreographed movement and static poses, taking its cues not from the traditions of stage theater, but from musicals, cabaret, films and the student protest movement. 

DAVID TUSHINGHAM (Translator) is a British dramaturg who specializes in translating contemporary German-language plays.  He has translated a substantial body of work by Roland Schimmelpfennig which includes; The Animal Kingdom, Ant Street, Arabian Night, The Four Points of the Compass, The Golden Dragon, Idomeneus, Peggy Pickit Sees the Face of God, Winter Solstice and The Woman Before. He has also translated numerous plays by Dea Loher and individual works by Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Torsten Buchsteiner, Katharina Gericke, David Gieselmann, Rainald Goetz, Klaus Pohl, René Pollesch, Falk Richter, Kevin Rittberger, Mario Salazar, Einar Schleef and Nis-Momme Stockmann. He is currently dramaturg to the theatre programme of the Salzburg Festival in Austria. 

BENJAMIN VIERTEL (Director & Co-Founder) Upcoming: CRIMES OF THE HEART (Bristol Valley Theater); GRINDR THE MUSICAL (Pleasance Theater, London & Teatro Elfo Puccini, Milan). Past: FIREFACE (The Brick); CLIPPED (Atlantic Stage II); AVENUE Q (BVT); [BLANK] MY LIFE. Benjamin has worked at BAM, Roundabout Theater Company, Huntington Theater Company, The New Group, and The Civilians. Member of Kennedy Center Director’s Lab, MTC’s Directing Fellow, The Civilian’s R&D Group, and Resident Artist at The Brick and Abrons Arts Center.  Education: Carnegie Mellon University. www.benjaminviertel.com  

BETSEY BROWN (Karin Thimm) is thrilled to play Karin again, after Ben's workshop (Abrons Art Center).  Film: Assholes (Premiering at SXSW, directed by Peter Vack), The Pervert (post-production, directed by Jack Dunphy/Nathan Silver), Feed (post-production, written by Troian Bellisario).  TV: Carrie Diaries, Forever, Crime to Remember. Her short "shegetsey betsey" won Audience Award Best Experimental Film - New Orleans Film Festival 2015. 

JODY DOO (Gabrielle von Kant) is a native Singaporean. She worked as a full-time performer at Universal Studios Singapore for 2 years before relocating to NYC and is a graduate of Circle in the Square’s Musical Theatre program. Especially during this sensitive period when radical changes are happening, Jody is proud to be an immigrant actress in this diverse all-female cast. Thank you Third Space Theatre. www.jodydoo.com 

CAROLINE GOMBÉ (Petra von Kant) Credits include: What happened to Monday? (2016), Club Dead (Hulu 2016), Janie Charismanic (Hulu 2016), Digital Physics (Amazon 2016). Originally from Romania, Caroline was the first mixed race actress accepted in the National Conservatory of Dramatic Arts of Romania. She also holds an MA in acting performing techniques at UCONN 2010. Upon graduation she became part of The Blind Trip project - NYC 2010 and the world premiere of Train to 2010 at the Tony-Award-winning Crossroads Theatre (dir. Ricardo Khan). www.carolinegombe.com 

LENORE HARRIS (Valerie von Kant) is a leading Speech teacher and protégé to acclaimed Speech phonetician Alice Hermes. Featured in the film KILL YOUR DARLINGS starring Daniel Radcliffe, SWEET LORRAINE starring Tatum O’Neal and a co-star in the Emmy-award winning film PLAYING FOR TIME starring Vanessa Redgrave.   Lenore co-starred with Linda Lavin in LENA: MY 100 CHILDREN, acted in over 5 seasons on NBC’s LAW & ORDER and is on the faculty of the renewed SUSAN BATSON. www.lenoreharris.com  

MARIANA PARMA (Sidonie von Grasenabb) Actor/ Professional Dancer / Instructor. She is a member of Screen Actors Guild and Actors Equity. She has performed in theatrical productions, TV, and film. Credits include: The Blacklist, Spring Streets, Evita, GalmourTango, Swing the Musical, to name a few. She is so excited to be working with a diverse and talented cast and team, directed by Benjamin Viertel. Diversity Rules! www.marianaparma.com

ALEX SPIETH (Marlene) is the writer/creator of [Blank] My Life (www.blankmylifetheseries.com).  She frequently collaborates with Tele-Violet, Third Space, and Irondale Ensemble.  She tours a one-woman show about the Steubenville Rape Case to colleges and universities around the US.  2013 Carnegie Mellon Grad.   

BRYCE CUTLER (Scenic Design & Co-Founder) Previous designs include premieres by John Patrick Shanley, Dael Orlandersmith, Matt AuCoin and Steve Mackey at The Guthrie Theater. He was selected as USITT’s 2017 Rising Star and his design for The Lady In Red... was selected for international exhibition at the 2015 Prague Quadrennial. He served as the art director for Comedy Central’s @Midnight: NYC and his work has been published in the Contemporary Performance Almanac. He is the recipient of the Lloyd Weinger Award for Scenic Design and the 2015 ArtsImpulse Award for Best Projection Design for Jesus Christ Superstar. Education: Carnegie Mellon University.   www.brycecutler.com 

EMILY CHALMERS (Costume Design) is traditionally trained in the UK at The University of Kent, Canterbury in Theater Studies. After developing an interest in costume design she gained an MFA at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh. Recent credits include: “Thre3bound” feature film (Exit74 Productions), “Fireface” (Third Space). Assisting credits: “Night of To Many Stars” (Comedy Central), “Michel Feinstein Rainbow Room Special” (PBS), “Dracula Untold” (Universal Studios) She also has credits with HBO, Food Network, VH1 and The Julliard School. 

MARY ELLEN STEBBINS (Lighting Design) Recent: Dave Malloy’s Beardo (Pipeline Theatre), Orpheus Unsung (Guthrie Theater), Cowboy Bob (Ars Nova), I’ll Never Love Again (Bushwick Starr), LongYarn (Bushwick Starr), associate design with Jane Cox for The Ambassador (BAM, UCLA).  Resident: Encounters Ensemble, HOWL ensemble, Third Space.  2014 Live Design Young Designer to Watch, 2011 USITT Barbizon Lighting Design Award, 2009 Hangar Lab Company Design Fellow. MFA, Boston University; AB, Harvard College. www.maryellenstebbinsdesign.com 

ALMEDA BEYNON (Sound Design) is excited to be a part of the Bitter Tears team! Selected credits include: MYTHO: Lure of Wildness (Abrons Arts Center), University of Northern Iowa's Dead Man's Cell Phone, Hangar Theatre's 2016 Wedge and Kiddstuff series, and Carnegie Mellon University's Lord of the Flies, and The Wiz. Almeda recently graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a Masters in Sound Design. For additional information please visit www.almedabeynon.com

OLIVIA O’CONNOR (Dramaturg) is the Artistic Associate at Roundabout Theatre Company and an Associate Artist at Third Space Theater. Recent dramaturgy work includes Fireface at The Brick Theater (Dramaturg), Expedition and Slowmatch at the National Theatre for Student Artists (Playwright Mentor), and The Mysteries at The Flea Theater (Associate Dramaturg). Graduate of Carnegie Mellon University. 

KELLY HARTNETT (Production Stage Manager) is delighted to work with the Third Space team on another great production! Selected credits include: A Day in the Death of Joe Egg (IRT Theatre, PSM), Fireface (Brick Theatre, PSM), the public domain (Lincoln Center, ASM) The Roads to Home (Primary Stages, PA). Thank you to her wonderful cast, designers, Ben, and Vonnie.  

VONNIE RANTA (Assistant Stage Manager) grew up immersed in the theater world of Nashville, Tennessee. She attends Webster College where she studies Stage Management. This is her NYC debut! Other stage management credits include The Nutcracker ( MBT), The Mini-Nutcracker (Nashville Metro Parks), Foco (New Dialect), and Cinderella (MBT). She has also worked with Minnesota Fringe Festival and Made First. She would like to thank Kelly and Ben for the opportunity, and her boyfriend David for always understanding. 

LIO SIGERSON (Associate Producer) is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Human Rights Studies at Columbia University with a concentration in women’s rights. She previously worked with Theater of War Productions as project coordinator. She has worked with The New Group, Dixon Place, National Theater for Student Artists, Signature Theatre Company, and Ridge Theater Company, among others. She holds a BFA in Directing from Carnegie Mellon University. Lio is thrilled to continue working with Third Space.  

BRAD SIEBEKING (Technical Director) Brad is the Director of Production for the Professional Performing Arts School(PPAS). Working in many areas of theater such as producing, directing, music directing and acting Brad has been happy to explore the theater world behind the scenes. Most recently working with Bryce Cutler on producing the PPAS award winning production of “Ragtime”. 

New York IT Awards