Women of Will: The Overview

By Tina Packer
July 12 to July 13 2013
University Theatre (Indoors)
  • An "impassioned exploration of Shakespeare's heroines … subliminally erotic … commandingly eloquent." - New York Times
Do you not know that I am a woman?"
Directed by Eric Tucker

Following critically acclaimed runs at CSF, Prague and New York City, Tina Packer brings her fresh, funny, brilliant exploration of Shakespeare’s women back to Boulder with the incomparable Nigel Gore. The overview is a comprehensive presentation of Shakespearean scenes, insights, and discussion taken from the full five-part series. You won’t want to miss this very special return engagement; two performances only!

"The pair have an … astonishing chemistry as they inhabit Shakespeare’s creations." — The Denver Post

On performance evenings, tickets will be available for sale and pick up in the University Theatre box office starting one hour before each play begins.

Date Time
Friday July 12 7:30 pm
Saturday July 13 1:00 pm
Women of Will Trailer

Shakespeare’s women, Shakespeare’s psyche

By studying the female characters in Shakespeare’s plays in the order in which the playwright wrote them, I have been tracing their development and maturation over the span of the canon.

Through his relationship with the women he creates, Shakespeare reveals much about his own character and spirit as an artist. Because the women generally survive outside the power structure of society, they look at, maneuver and reflect upon the workings of that society, not unlike an artist. The feminine sensibilities of intuition, feeling and relationship parallel those of the artist.

So, if you want to know what Shakespeare thinks, listen to the women. Because there are fewer women than men in the plays, the women often have a clear definition of being the “other.” And often they manifest the very souls or spirit of the stories.

The women have a specific progression from the fighting warrior women and virgins-on-the-pedestal of the early plays to the heroines who struggle to find themselves in the middle plays, to the daughters who, through their own wholeness, are able to guide their fathers back to life in the late plays. I believe the women reflect the development of Shakespeare’s own psyche. Shakespeare, being one of the greatest artists who ever lived, is able to reveal­— over a 25-year span— his mind to us, and this in turn actually exposes on an archetypal level the development of a universal human psyche.

I have come to understand myself through this study. I, too, have been immersed in the plays for 35 years, both as a director and as an actress, and have an intimate relationship with most of Shakespeare’s writing. In many ways, my own development as an artist is reflected in the development of his women. First there is the battle, then the negotiation. In order to survive, I personally went underground and now I am coming back from the underground to a new birth — the maiden phoenix, if you will. And whole, in a way I never was before.


            — Tina Packer, writer and performer

Women of Will: From CSF to Prague, to New York, and back again

In the summer of 2012, the Colorado Shakespeare Festival paved the way for plaudits around the world when it staged Tina Packer’s brilliant five-play cycle, Women of Will, which explores Shakespeare’s evolving ideas about women through his best-known female characters.

“Bravo, Colorado Shakespeare Festival, for bringing the incandescently thoughtful Shakespeare expert and actress and Women of Will … to Boulder,” wrote Lisa Kennedy of The Denver Post in her “Highlights of the 2012 Theater Season.” “Packer's chemistry — volatile, erotic, humorous — with Nigel Gore, her collaborator, scene partner and the work's atypical Everyman, was thrilling.”

Packer and Gore took their scintillating show on the road after CSF, landing first at the prestigious Prague Shakespeare Festival, where the Prague Post proclaimed, “When it comes to the Bard, Packer is … positively riveting.”

In early 2013, they opened their one-night version of the play cycle, Women of Will: The Overview, Off Broadway to no less acclaim.

“When (Tina Packer) and (Nigel) Gore get down to the business of acting, it’s not just poetry in motion, it’s thought made flesh,” wrote the New York Times.

“By turns playful and fierce, Packer alters mercurially from a ‘woman warrior’ like Joan of Arc to a bashful young Juliet to a despairing Lady Macbeth, to name but a few of the most familiar,” wrote the Huffington Post.

Having played host to the full cycle for the first time outside of Massachusetts in 2012, the Colorado Shakespeare Festival is proud to bring Tina and Nigel back to Boulder this summer for an exclusive, two-performance engagement of Women of Will: The Overview.