(Elizabeth Toohey’s article appeared in the Christian Science Monitor, 4/9.)
Tina Packer does not need to be told to “lean in.” At 76, she has founded one of the largest Shakespeare festivals in the country (Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, Massachusetts), directed most of Shakespeare’s plays, and written and starred in the one-woman-show "Women of Will," which she travels around the country performing.
Now she has translated that performance into the book, Women of Will: The Feminine in Shakespeare’s Plays, which delves into the psychological and social roles his women characters play and their impact on others.
Shakespeare’s portrayal of women is not just one aspect of his work for Packer, but key to understanding the development of his world view, shedding light on his perception of the church, imperial expansion, the concept of honor, how we grieve, and our relationship to speech and language. To look at Shakespeare’s women is to see the whole of the man and his world.