|Tina Packer. Photo: Matthew Murphy|
By Tina Packer
Directed by Eric Tucker
Starring Tina Packer and Nigel Gore
Design TeamL Valerie Bart (Scenic and Costume Design), Les Dickert (Lighting Design), Daniel Kluger (Sound Design)
The Gym at Judson
What's it All About?
The women of Shakespeare's plays and the playwright's enlightenment about the roles of women with the passage of time. Tina Packer developed Women of Will, an overview of more extended works: five plays called Women of Will: The Compete Journey during a 15-year period when she was artistic director at Shakespeare and; Company in Lenox, MA.where both works received their world-premiere productions. It's a mix of history lesson, Shakespeare lesson and advanced scene study class as Packer and costar Nigel Gore discuss the text and scenes in between performing them. The "Will" in the title studies the women found in Will Shakespeare's work as well as the "will" that propels the women to and through power structures and the "will" alternately defined in Elizabethan English as sexual desire. Packer shows how Shakespeare moves from portraying women as either shrews or virgins (including The Taming of the Shrew; Henry VI) to merging the sexual and spiritual to create heroines who are people in their own right and who have the power to change the world (like Juliet). Finally, he offers women who are ut for revenge, like Lady Macbeth.
What are the Highlights?
Fascinating stuff if you're a Shakespeare fan. Packer suggests several interpretations for one scene and enacts them all, each giving different takes on the action. Her Lady Macbeth is riveting.
What are the Lowlights?
If you didn't like that Shakespeare class in college, this one's not for you. Having other actors more appropriate to the roles (a teenage Juliet and an African American Othello, for example) while Packer and Gore comment on the scenes might make the presentation even more interesting.
Following Tuesday evening performances of the Overview of Women of Will, Packer and Gore have been giving post show talk-backs. Beginning March 19 they will welcome some moderators (additional names and dates to be announced).
• , Tuesday, March 19 Carey Purcell a New York based writer, reporter and theatre critic who offers a fresh and feminist perspective from a progressive young woman. Purcell is a frequent contributor to The Huffington Post, CareyPurcell.com, Alternet.org, NewYork.com, and WHERE New York Magazine to name a few.
• Tuesday, April 9 Andy Buck, a dramaturg for Lynn M. Thomson’s “America-in-Play” theater company and curator of a series of staged readings at Brooklyn College with director Mary Beth Easley and playwrights Mac Wellman and Erin Courtney. Buck has also been a writer for publications such as Playbill, TheaterMania and TDF Stages.
• Date TBD Carol Gilligan, an American feminist, ethicist and psychologist, who is a Professor at New York University and a Visiting Professor at the University of Cambridge. Gilligan is best known for her 1982 work, “In a Different Voice,” her text on gender studies.
• Tuesday, May 7 Deirdre Donovan, a regular contributor to CurtainUp.com, who has also published articles in The Washington Post, and The Boston Globe to name a few. Donovan is a member of The Shakespeare Society, as well as the English-Speaking Union/New York Brach and has been their Treadwell Scholar at Stratford.
• Tuesday, May 14 Linda Winer, chief theater critic and arts columnist of Newsday, a position she’s held since 1987. Winer has been teaching critical writing at Columbia University since 1992 and has been a jurist for the Pulitzer Prize in theater eight times.
Women of Will: The Complete Journey – Packer’s five-play series that explores and deconstructs William Shakespeare’s most famous female characters – will begin performances April 5 and will run bi-monthly over alternating weekends.
The performance schedule is as follows: now through March 28
“The Overview” is performed Tuesdays at 7 pm, Wednesdays through Fridays at 8 pm, Saturdays at 2 pm and 8 pm, and Sundays at 3 pm;
From April 9 through June 2 “The Complete Journey” will be performed as follows on alternating weekends: For the performance schedule, visit http://goo.gl/vq3DP. Tickets are $75: www.WomenOfWill.com; 212-352-3101. There will also be a limited number of $25 student rush tickets available for each performance sold at the Box Office.