But it's the acting that truly captivates. By turns playful and fierce, Packer alters mercurially from a "woman warrior" like Joan of Arc to a bashful young Juliet to a despairing Lady Macbeth, to name but a few of the most familiar. She even tackles the submission speech made by Katharine near the end of "The Taming of the Shrew," which is generally so objectionable to 21st-century women. "I can't say this," she announces disgustedly, then proceeds to say it at least twice, with alternate interpretations.
At times their banter breaks the spells these accomplished actors repeatedly cast with their engrossing enactments. Yet this production succeeds as a thoughtful, entertaining reflection on the evolution of Shakespeare's art and characters of any and all genders.