The Taming of the Shrew
On February 14th, 2011, the Prague Shakespeare Company and Classical Theatre Company will present Houston with a special Valentine’s Day gift: Tina Packer’s groundbreaking exploration of Shakespeare’s canon: Women of Will. A true tour-de-force of performance, discussion, and just a bit of crowd participation, Women of Willshowcases Packer’s 30-odd years of deep investigation into all things Shakespeare–covering the full breadth of Shakespeare’s romantic comedies and passionate dramas.
PSC Artistic Director Guy Roberts says, “I am so thrilled that my friend Tina Packer is coming to Houston to help celebrate the PSC/CTC collaboration of King Lear and As You Like It with a special benefit performance of Women of Will. Universally acclaimed as one of our greatest treasures in the Shakespearean world, Tina is a force of nature both on-stage and off. Not only is she generously sharing her amazing production, she will also be returning in March to lead a special workshop for PSC/CTC actors.
I have no doubt Houston artists, audiences and anyone who loves great art will ever forget this evening with Tina and Shakespeare.“The Boston Globe says of Women of Will: “Drawing on her lifetime of acting in and directing Shakespeare’s plays, Packer combines the performance of scenes with the discussion of themes to create a dazzling and illuminating piece of work. For anyone who cares about women, Shakespeare, or especially women in Shakespeare, it’s not to be missed.” The New York Times says: “Ms. Packer glows…[a] lively and illuminating tour.”Women of Will performs for one night only: Valentine’s Day, Monday, February 14th, 2011, at 7:30p.m. at Stages Repertory Theatre.
All proceeds from this special performance benefit the Classical Theatre Company and Prague Shakespeare Company upcoming productions of King Lear and As You Like It.
“If you want to know what Shakespeare really thought about the power structures of the world, you should look at what his women are talking about!” Packer says. “By focusing on the feminine in Shakespeare, you see him progress from callow youth to wise seer. You see how the warrior women progress toward peace. If you want to know how the sexual merges with the spiritual, who better to tell us than William Shakespeare himself? The title itself has several meanings: obviously ‘Will’ in the sense of William Shakespeare. By looking at the women in the order in which Shakespeare wrote them, we can see how his attitude towards women changed over the years-and it did profoundly,” Packer says. “But ‘will’ also means will power or the will to power, and so we look at how women use power or how it is used against them. Finally, ‘will’ in Elizabethan English means sexual desire, or even the sexual parts. We will be examining how sexual desire is used in the plays. We’ll not be looking at the parts,” Packer adds with a laugh.
“In many ways I’ve been working on this piece for the whole of my artistic life, and I have to ask the question: why should a 21st century feminist spend her time with a dead white male? Well the answer is because I grow, expand, understand myself better with every play in the canon I immerse myself in, and have from the time I was a young actor to becoming a director and teacher,” Packer says. “With each play, my awareness expands. He says things in such a way as allows me to understand the world-politically, psychologically, physically, poetically, philosophically-that change my personal and creative life.”
Packer is joined onstage by Nigel Gore. Packer and Gore are both Elliot Norton award-winning actors, who have starred opposite each other in several celebrated productions including Antony and Cleopatra, Hamlet, and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Houston’s own Debs Ramser is the Production Stage Manager.
This special benefit performance of Women of Will is sponsored by PZ Adventures Inc. with the support of Stages Repertory Theatre, Classical Theatre Company and the Prague Shakespeare Company.
Debs Ramser - Stage Manager