Wednesday November 28, 2012

Tina Packer calls her "Women of Will" project a "journey."

With the help of a Guggenheim Fellowship, it’s a journey she’s been making for the better part of 15 years -- from Lenox to Boston, Denver to Prague, Los Angeles to San Francisco, Houston to Charlotte and then Nashville.

She presented the finished performance project, "Women of Will -- The Complete Journey, Parts I-V" and its two-hour condensed version, "Women of Will," at Shakespeare & Company in Lenox in the summer of 2011. And now the actress, scholar, director and founding artistic director of Shakespeare & Company, along with her onstage acting partner, Nigel Gore, is heading for the place she’s most wanted to show this work -- New York.

"Women of Will" begins previews Jan. 27 at The Gym at Judson, an Off-Broadway theater at 243 Thompson St., where it officially opens Feb. 3 and is scheduled to run through June 2.

Eric Tucker is again directing. The producer is Sarah Hancock, treasurer of Shakespeare & Company and a member of the boards at Shakespeare, Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in Lenox, and American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge.

Through scenes and narrative, "Women of Will" and "Women of Will: The Complete Journey," examine the development of Shakespeare’s female characters over the course of the Bard’s canon and what that reveals about his psyche.

"We’ve been working tirelessly to fine tune the work before our New York debut," Packer says in a news release.


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"There is a special joy for me to be able to play the parts I missed because I was building Shakespeare & Company -- parts in plays I have directed, but can now approach again from the inside not looking from the outside."

"Women of Will" will perform Tuesdays at 7 p.m., Wednesdays through Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 2 and 8 p.m., and Sundays at 3. The five-part "Women of Will: The Complete Journey" will be presented in every-other-weekend marathons beginning later in the run.

General admission tickets are $40 for the previews and $75 beginning Feb. 3. A limited number of $25 student-rush tickets will be available before each performance at the box office only.

Ticket information is available online at www.WomenOfWill.com or by telephone at TheatreMania at (212) 352-3101.

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A Rockwellian Christmas in Stockbridge: Deeply steeped in history and tradition, the home of All Things Rockwellian puts on its holiday finery for this weekend’s 23rd annual Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas festivities organized by the Chamber of Commerce.

The three-day event -- this Friday, Saturday and Sunday -- changes little from year to year, but draws large crowds of enthusiastic revelers from near and afar for a whiff of nostalgia reflecting Rockwell’s image of a more genteel, leisurely era. The artist took 11 years of on-again, off-again work to complete the famous painting in 1967 depicting Main Street as the heart and soul of small-town New England.

"The image and character of Stockbridge has changed little over the years, thanks to the great care and affection of its residents, and it is that special ambience which draws so many," stated Barbara Zanetti of the Stockbridge Chamber.

Some events are free, including readings of seasonal stories at the Stockbridge Library hearth on Friday at 5:30 and the Caroling Luminaria Walk on Saturday evening at 6, which gathers at the Red Lion Inn. The Holiday House Tour is Saturday from 11 to 4, and includes tours of stately local manors; it is ticketed at $20 per person in advance from the Chamber or on the same day at the Red Lion.

The Holiday Concert is Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the First Congregational Church, directed by Jack Brown and performed by the Berkshire Lyric Chorus and the Blafield Children’s Chorus ($20 in advance, $25 at the door).

The movie-set re-creation of Rockwell’s painting is Sunday from noon to 2. Buttons for admission are $5, but children under 12 can attend free.

Details are at www.stockbridgechamber.org.

County Fare is compiled by Eagle staffers. Visit the County Fare blog at www.berkshireeagleblogs.com/countyfare.