Monday, March 18, 2013

Quick Hit Theater Review: Women of Will

Tina Packer. Photo: Matthew Murphy
Women of Will
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.

More info:
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,,,, 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, 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 Tickets are $75:; 212-352-3101. There will also be a limited number of $25 student rush tickets available for each performance sold at the Box Office.

No comments:
Create A Buzz About Your Book
Custom Search
Our reviews are professional reviews written without a religious bias. At the end of them, you can find a listing of language, content or theological issues that Christians might want to know about when deciding which shows to see.

** Mature indicates that the show has posted an advisory because of content. Usually this means I would recommend no one under the age of 16 attend.

Theater Critic Lauren Yarger

Theater Critic Lauren Yarger

My Bio

Lauren Yarger has written, directed and produced numerous shows and special events for both secular and Christian audiences. She co-wrote a Christian musical version of “A Christmas Carol” which played to sold-out audiences of over 3,000 in Vermont and was awarded the 2000 Vermont Bessie (theater and film awards) for “People’s Choice for Theatre.” She also has written two other dinner theaters, sketches for church services and devotions for Christian artists.

Yarger trained for three years in the Broadway League’s Producer Development Program, completed the Commercial Theater Institute's Producing Three-Day Training and produced a one-woman musical about Mary Magdalene that toured nationally and closed with an off-Broadway run.

She was a Fellow at the National Critics Institute at the O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT. She writes reviews of Broadway and off-Broadway theater (the only ones you can find in the US with an added Christian perspective) at

She is editor of The Connecticut Arts Connection (, an award-winning website featuring theater and arts news for the state. She is a contributing editor for and is a theater reviewer for the Manchester Journal-Inquirer. She previously served as Connecticut theater editor for and as Connecticut and New York reviewer for American Theater Web.

Yarger is a book reviewer for Publishers Weekly and freelances for other sites. She is a member of the National Book Critics Circle.

She is a freelance writer and playwright and member of The Drama Desk, The Outer Critics Circle, The American Theater Critics Association and The League of Professional Theatre Women. She served as a judge for the SDX Awards presented by the Society of Professional Journalists. She also is a member of the Connecticut Critics Circle and the CT Press Club.

A former newspaper editor and graduate of the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, Yarger also worked in arts management for the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, the Hartford Symphony Orchestra and served for nine years as the Executive Director of Masterwork Productions, Inc. She lives with her husband in West Granby, CT. They have two adult children.


All material is copyright 2008- 2017 by Lauren Yarger. Reviews and articles may not be reprinted without permission. Contact


Key to Content Notes:

God's name taken in vain -- means God or Jesus is used in dialogue without speaking directly to or about them.

Language -- means some curse words are used. "Minor" usually means the words are not too strong or that it only occurs once or twice throughout the show.

Strong Language -- means some of the more heavy duty curse words are used.

Nudity -- means a man or woman's backside, a man's lower front or a woman's front are revealed.

Scantily clad -- means actors' private areas are technically covered, but I can see a lot of them.

Sexual Language -- means the dialogue contains sexually explicit language but there's no action.

Sexual Activity -- means a man and woman are performing sexual acts.

Adultery -- Means a married man or woman is involved sexually with someone besides their spouse. If this is depicted with sexual acts on stage, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Sex Outside of Marriage -- means a man and woman are involved sexually without being married. If this is depicted sexually on stage, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Homosexuality -- means this is in the show, but not physically depicted.

Homosexual activity -- means two persons of the same sex are embracing/kissing. If they do more than that, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Cross Dresser -- Means someone is dressing as the opposite sex. If they do more than that on stage the listing would include the corresponding "sexual activity" and/or "homosexual activity" as well.

Cross Gender -- A man is playing a female part or a woman is playing a man's part.

Suggestive Dancing -- means dancing contains sexually suggestive moves.

Derogatory (category added Fall 2012) Language or circumstances where women are referred to or treated in a negative and demeaning manner.

Other content matters such as torture, suicide or rape will be noted, with details revealed only as necessary in the review itself.

The term "throughout" added to any of the above means it happens many times throughout the show.

Reviewing Policy

I receive free seats to Broadway and Off-Broadway shows made available to all voting members of the Outer Critics Circle and The Drama Desk, the two professional critics organizations with journalists covering NY theater. Journalistically, I provide an unbiased review and am under no obligation to make positive statements. Sometimes shows do not make tickets available to reviewers. If these are shows my readers want to know about (I review all Broadway shows and pertinent Off-Broadway shows), I will purchase a ticket. If a personal friend is involved in a production, I'll let you know, but it won't influence a review. If I feel there is a conflict, I won't review their portion of the production.

All Posts on this Blog