Tina Packer: An Intimate Life with Shakespeare

Tina Packer in the On Point studio on Tuesday, June 1. (Credit: Jesse Costa, WBUR)
Tina Packer in the On Point studio on Tuesday, June 1. (Credit: Jesse Costa, WBUR)

We spent a memorable hour today in the studio with the Shakespearean actor, director and scholar Tina Packer. She discussed her new work "Women of Will," which traces the development of Shakespeare's female characters. It's playing through July 24, at Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, MA.

Her new play condenses into a single performance her big five-part series that she developed as part of a Guggenheim Fellowship. It's all the culmination of a life's work immersed in Shakespeare. (Listen to WBUR arts reporter Andrea Shea's profile of Packer last year.)

So how does she feel about spending all these decades with a long-dead "white male"? Here's a little bit from the introduction to her five-part series:

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, from young actor to director and teacher - and I have now directed almost every play he wrote. 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 life. He’s the man I would most like to sleep with, if you will - I’m really sorry he’s dead! And in many ways he ain’t dead. He infuses the world with life, and it’s all open to interpretation…

(On Point's emphasis added there!) Tune in to hear more of Tina.

This program aired on June 1, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.


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