Renowned Shakespearean actress Tina Packer is equally convincing as a steely Lady Macbeth, an impassioned Juliet and an anguished Desdemona.
Packer plays all these women and more in her exploration of Shakespeare’s heroines, “Women of Will.” Directed by Eric Tucker and presented by the Nora Theatre Company at Central Square Theater in Cambridge, the production distills Packer’s investigation into Shakespeare’s female characters, insights she has gleaned from directing and performing nearly all of Shakespeare’s plays.
The founder of Shakespeare & Company and until 2009 the artistic director of the 34-year-old company, Packer has crafted an intimate, five-part sampling of Shakespeare’s canon. Each part explores a new turn in Shakespeare’s evolving understanding of women.
“Women of Will: The Overview,” is on stage through Oct. 30. From Nov. 4-6, Packer will perform “Women of Will: The Complete Journey,” which expands the overview into five full-length performances over three days.
By no means a shorthand version, the overview is a richly packed evening of theater. Together with fellow Brit Nigel Gore, a seasoned actor who is a natural as her partner, Packer performs a chronological sampling of scenes from plays throughout Shakespeare’s career. In between, she conducts a conversational master class with the audience. Occasionally, the two actors pull an audience member into the action to play a listening father or lord or the minister to whom their characters recite marriage vows.