By John Thomason
By Benjy Caplan
By Artburst Miami
By Carlos Suarez De Jesus
By Daniel Reskin
The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant: With just two productions under their belt, the cast and crew of White Orchard Theater are courageously readying the curtain once again, this time for Rainer Werner Fassbinder's provocative 1972 play. Set in the bedroom of the show's title character, this provocative work explores the relationship between Petra, an arrogant fashion designer, and her young, beautiful female lover. The female cast of six depicts with stark honesty the lengths to which people will journey simply to stay with those they love. Fassbinder's play offers a chilling narrative that brings to life the pain, longing, manipulation, and deception inherent in any relationship. Joanne GreenJanuary 26 and 28 at the Miami Beach Cinematheque, 512 Española Way, Miami Beach; February 4 at the German-American Society, 6401 Washington St., Hollywood; February 5 at the German-American Social Club of Greater Miami, 11919 SW 56th St., Miami; 305-331-1293.
Hand of God: Thank God a new play about Catholic priests that mentions neither pope nor pedophilia. South Florida Everyman playwright/actor Michael McKeever's production is about miracles; it explores the interface between wonder and practical life and taps out a definition of miracle that's accessible to real people in a modern world. McKeever's play goes the latter route, with an exploration of priests as regular folks. Miracles in Hand of God find definition more through conviction, faith, and caring for others than through bright visions and oddly shaped grilled cheese sandwiches. Dave AmberThrough February 5. Palm Beach Dramaworks, 322 Banyan Blvd., West Palm Beach; 561-514-4042.
I Am My Own Wife: Give this plot two points for originality: A German teenage transvestite who beats his abusive Nazi father to death using a rolling pin gets sprung from jail thanks to Soviet bombs that leave few things standing in his native Berlin. He then goes on, having survived Hitler's Germany, to live openly and occasionally thrive as a woman under the Stasi's watchful eye in communist East Berlin. That is the real-life story of Charlotte, née Lothar, von Marlsdorf, among the most colorful and mysterious figures of recent European history as well as a gay icon who survived two of the Twentieth Century's most oppressive regimes. Doug Wright's play, already showered with honors, including a Tony and a Pulitzer Prize, is a flawed, lovely, and touching bit of queer history. It's also probably a better piece of theater than Mark Nelson's low-voltage performance under the direction of Anders Cato suggests. Octavio Roca Through January 29. Coconut Grove Playhouse, 3500 Main Hwy., Coconut Grove; 305-442-4000.