Tina Packer, actor and director presents Burian Lecture on Shakespeare's female characters, April 13, 2015
Artistic Director of Shakespeare & Company discusses her new book "Women of Will: Following the Feminine in Shakespeare's Plays"
ALBANY, NY (03/25/2015)(readMedia)-- Tina Packer, one of the world's leading authorities on Shakespeare's work, and the founding artistic director of Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, Massachusetts, will deliver the 19th annual Burian Lecture and discuss her new book, Women of Will: Following The Feminine in Shakespeare's Plays (2015), a fierce and funny exploration of the Bard's female characters, on Monday, April 13, 2015 at 8:00 p.m. in the Studio Theatre of the Performing Arts Center on the University at Albany uptown campus. Earlier that same day at 4:15 p.m., the author will present an informal seminar in Campus Center 375 on the uptown campus. Free and open to the public, the events are sponsored by the New York State Writers Institute and UAlbany's Theatre Department, with funding from the Jarka and Grayce Burian Endowment.
Tina Packer, one of the world's leading authorities on Shakespeare's work, is the founding artistic director of Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, Massachusetts. Her new book is Women of Will: Following The Feminine in Shakespeare's Plays (April 2015).
A fierce and funny exploration of the Bard's female characters, Women of Will traces Shakespeare's maturation and emotional development over the course of a quarter century, from the "shrews" and idealized virgins of the early comedies, to the rich and lifelike later characters of Joan of Arc and Juliet.
Kirkus Reviews called the new book, "Visceral and intellectual . . . A sparkling, insightful exploration of Shakespeare's words and world." In a starred review, Booklist called it, "An important and fascinating addition to feminist literary criticism." The journal, American Theater, said, "Tina Packer makes a passionate personal statement about what she's learned from 40 years' experience acting and directing Shakespeare... Her warmhearted book will engage anyone who shares her belief that plays written 500 years ago can help us see how to live fully and happily in the 21st century." The Library Journal reviewer said, "Literary analysis, biographical/historical tract, and actor's primer, this work ... is everything lovers of the Bard would want."
The book grows out of Packer's same-named, two-person lecture and recital highlighting Shakespeare's "strong women," starring Packer and Nigel Gore. Writing in the Wall St. Journal, Terry Teachout praised Packer for "fearlessly impassioned acting that you'll remember for as long as you live." Ben Brantley of the New York Times said, "Ms. Packer becomes the age and shape the character demands she be.... Yet she isn't onstage just to show that she still has the stuff to seduce an audience; she's as much a professor as she is a performer here."
As artistic director of Shakespeare & Company for forty years, Packer has directed most of Shakespeare's plays, acted in seven, and taught the entire canon at colleges and universities, including Harvard, MIT, and Columbia. She has also served as Associate Artist with the Royal Shakespeare Company in England, and has worked at the Royal Court and Aldwych theatres in London, Leicester, Glasgow, Edinburgh, and other regional theatres, as well as for BBC and ITV television. Her performance piece "Women of Will" has been staged throughout the U.S. and internationally.
Packer's other books include Power Plays: Shakespeare's Lessons in Leadership and Management (2000), with the late John O. Whitney, and the illustrated children's book, Tales from Shakespeare (2004), featuring ten plays adapted as stories illustrated by ten notable illustrators.
Packer's visit is funded by the Jarka and Grayce Susan Burian Endowment. The late Jarka Burian taught in the Theatre Department at UAlbany from 1955 to 1993. He was the leading American scholar of Czech theatre and author of the award-winning book The Scenography of Josef Svoboda, a seminal critical study of the work of one of the twentieth century's most influential theatrical designers. Grayce Susan Burian, who received her M.A. degree from UAlbany and also taught there, is best known for her long tenure as the director of the theatre program, which she founded, at Schenectady County Community College.
For additional information, contact the Writers Institute at 518-442-5620 or online at http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst.