By Tina Packer
Directed by Eric Tucker
Featuring Nigel Gore and Tina Packer
A true tour de force performance, Women of Will: The Complete Journey is the masterful summation of Shakespeare & Company’s Founding Artistic Director Tina Packer’s 40-plus years spent investigating all things Shakespeare, presented in a five-part series.
A combination of riveting scenes and trenchant analysis, Women of Will: The Complete Journey explores themes of love, loss, freedom, control, violence, and power through the heroines of Shakespeare’s text. Using performance and discussion, Packer traces the chronological evolution of Shakespeare’s female characters, and examines Shakespeare’s own journey and growth as a writer.
Director Eric Tucker returns to join forces with Packer and her talented acting mate, Nigel Gore, giving the trio another opportunity to tackle Shakespeare’s canon. Packer and Gore have starred opposite each other in several productions, including Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (which netted Gore an Elliot Norton Award for Best Actor in 2010), Antony & Cleopatra, and Hamlet.
All three artists have been working together for the past two years to fine-tune Women of Will, guiding it from a workshop piece to a fully realized, five-part series. In the spring, they tried it out on audiences in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Charlotte, and Boston – and the response in all cases was wild enthusiasm, fascination, and desire for more. The five parts have now been performed in Colorado, Boston, Czech Republic, and for four months in New York City. Packer is now creating a new version of the five parts which can be performed in two evenings to take out on tour.
“When I began work on this piece 12 years ago,” said Packer, “through a Guggenheim grant, I knew it was an unusual journey and a hybrid, as far as theatrical performance is concerned – it is a performance, but it’s also a discussion, a debate (as are all Shakespeare’s plays, in essence). The dramatic tension in the piece comes from the social and political influences in Shakespeare’s life, coupled with my desire to show how powerful and distinct the women in his plays are.”
Whichever version of Women of Will you are seeing, it is a priceless opportunity to examine the depths of Shakespeare’s plays with the Company’s visionary founder.
Women of Will: The Overview
The Overview is a comprehensive presentation of Shakespearean scenes, insights, and discussion taken from the full five-part series. It covers the full breadth of Shakespeare’s works.