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Publisher's Summary

Women of Will, a narrative combining trenchant analysis and riveting scenes, explores the themes of love, loss, freedom, control, violence, and power through the heroines of Shakespeare's text. Drawing on her knowledge as director, actor, and teacher, Packer traces the chronological evolution of Shakespeare's female characters and examines Shakespeare's own journey and growth as a writer from feckless misogynist in his youth to committed lover in his middle years to unrepentant feminist in his final years.

Based on her five-part theatrical performance of the same name (currently touring throughout the world), Women of Will combines the knowledge of performance, discussion, and debate with the dramatic tension stemming from the influences Shakespeare responded to in his life and from Packer's desire to show how powerful and distinct the women characters are in his plays. From Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing to Lady Macbeth to Paulina in A Winter's Tale and everyone in between, Women of Will gives a unique and exhilarating perspective on some of the most well-known classical texts in the English language.

©2015 Tina Packer (P)2015 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.

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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Wonderful in conception and execution

Have you listened to any of Tina Packer and Nigel Gore ’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

We were privileged to see the live performance of this material a couple of years ago in Boulder. Tina and Nigel make the concepts live and make them relevant to today's world. For those familiar with the cannon, it brings a new perspective to many of the characters. For those with less experience with Shakespeare, in each case the presentation gives enough of the background to help those unfamiliar with the plays understand the relevant plot and character. This is a wonderful production written by a woman who has lived the material and performed by two great actors.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

a deeply insightful book

just wonderful. Among the best books about Shakespeare that I have ever read and I have read many.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
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More Women of Will, and less Tina, "Nige", et al

First of all, the premise of the book was fascinating to me. And on that level, it works brilliantly. It is engaging and informative, giving insights into Shakespeare's works, and specifically his treatment and presentation of women. I liked the knowledge the author brought to the subject, breaking down the subtext and motivations (by her own admission, conjecture) of Shakespeare himself. The book is definitely worth a read or listen for that alone.

Where it starts to wobble is when the author starts assigning Shakespearean attitudes of the feminine and masculine onto contemporary issues. It's a bit facile, and the author is clearly out of her field of expertise, but it's tolerable.

But the times where the author recounts her numerous experiences acting, directing and producing this material, it becomes slightly unbearable. She and her fellow thespians struggle with motivation and punching up some of Shakespeare's lesser efforts. (Anybody familiar with theatre people recognise this kind of narcissism straight away). Memoirs of a Shakespearean director, producer and actor may make for a fine book, but it's not why I bought this one.

She finally acknowledges by the end of the book that the feminine and masculine are not strictly a binary system. (Stating this earlier may have made some statements come off a bit less churlish).

In addition, the citations of every single passage becomes quite annoying. It may be useful for those who wish to check the texts, but I found them to be a distraction, breaking the flow of the story. And seemingly the only reason for Nigel to be involved was for him to evolve from male voices to all voices.

All that being noted, I did enjoy the book very much. At least the parts that kept to its stated theme.

  • Overall
  • Stephen
  • Galloway, OH, United States
  • 04-23-17

evolution of a feminist

The chronological evolution of Shakespeare's feminine provides important insights. I especially appreciated the feminine perspective on Winter's Tale and The Tempest. Both plays rose in my esteem.

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Extraordinary

I cannot easily express how much I loved this book. It was recommended to me for research for a novel I'm writing but it turned out to be so much more. As stirring as theatre, illuminating, fascinating and occasionally mind-blowing. Thank you, Tina Packer. (And Nigel.) Halfway through, I went out and bought the book in hardcover, just to have it.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful