by Jessica Osnoe, Master of Company & Honey, Associate Artistic Director
I play a handful of assorted characters in King Lear who range in status from a rebellious servant to the Duke of Burgundy, and of all the scenes and lines, one moment has become a favorite. As a gentleman charged with delivering letters to Cordelia from Kent, I report her reception of their distressing news with both “patience and sorrow.” The expression Shakespeare chooses to describe Cordelia’s response of smiles and tears is that of “sunshine and rain at once.” These words, for me, encapsulate everything I now love about this play and the production.
As the gentleman goes to Cordelia not knowing what to expect, I didn’t know for certain what I would find in this process. My prior experiences with the play left me with a dreary, rather bleak impression of the story, and while excited for the opportunity to work with such excellent people, I did not anticipate the commutes to Raleigh with particular joy. In the end, I decided to go to rehearsal simply with an expectation for growth as an artist and a hope for redemption for the story.
Like my gentleman, what I found was the wonder of sunshine and rain at once. I found that the inconvenience of a commute became an opportunity for conversations that otherwise might not have happened. I found myself richer in time and ideas and words for giving more of them away. I found that tragedy does not preclude or even diminish beauty. Such moments may often prove more difficult to find, but they are all the more worthwhile for the labor.