Chelsea Skalski & Meg Caudill in Women of Will.
Photo-Shoestring Productions


Women of Will

Adapted from works by William Shakespeare
Directed by Kathi E.B. Ellis

Review by Kate Barry

Entire contents are copyright © 2014 Kate Barry. All rights reserved.

This Kentucky Shakespeare Festival Community Partners production complements the already well-rounded season with a piece crafted by local theater artists.

Simple staging has been a recurring theme throughout this season at Kentucky Shakespeare Festival. A concept utilized to a maximum effect by Shoestring Productions Women of Will. Meg Caudill, Chelsea Skalski, Erica McClure and Karole Spangler embody some of Shakespeare’s strongest, most vibrant and memorable characters within snapshots that highlight the emotional impact of their respected plays as well as complement and reflect each other.

Overlapping scenes and reappearing characters further emphasize the reoccurring themes within Shakespeare’s works. The evening starts with lighter scenes about love and the running theme of mistaken identity within the Bard’s comedies. Transitioning from comical usage of disguises to the deceit of mistrust and lies, the first act comes to a dramatic halt with powerful scenes of Erica McClure as an anxious Desdemona and Chelsea Skalski as a tragically innocent Ophelia.

Karole Spangler is forceful as Cleopatra yearning for her lover, and later mourning for him. The strongest moment of the evening is provided in a bit involving each actress standing on stage as a different character. Although each character springs from a drastically different tragedy, they share a common ground on the stage. Caudill denies her gender so that she may commit unthinkable acts as Lady Macbeth, Skalski seeks justice as Portia, Spangler is simply unmovable in the aforementioned role of Cleopatra and McClure shows wisdom beyond her years as the reluctant Juliet. The four actresses appear in one scene together, a delightful bit from Love’s Labour’s Lost. The four women discuss the tokens of favor given to them from their lovesick suitors. As these women discuss these material possessions, it’s clear they are “wise girls mocking lovers;” wise women, indeed.

Complete with choral readings of Miranda’s “brave new world” verse and Rosalind’s speech at the end of As You Like It, this evening of Shakespeare’s women emphasizes the importance of the Bard’s work while highlighting the common themes shared by his characters, regardless of gender.


Women of Will

August 12, 14, 16, 2014 @ 8pm

Free Admission to All Performances
7:15 Pre-show/8:00pm Curtain

Shoestring Productions

Kentucky Shakespeare
C. Douglas Ramey Amphitheatre
1340 South Fourth Street
Louisville, KY 40208