By Jessica Osnoe, STS Master of Education
One of my earliest experiences with Shakespeare is attempting to read Hamlet around age ten. I remember following the story, but becoming frustrated with the language because I knew there was meaning in it that I couldn’t yet see. I felt relieved to learn a few years later that Shakespeare’s works, and indeed all plays, weren’t meant simply to be read; they were meant to be acted, to be lived out onstage.
As a lover of words, I am fascinated by the way language works, especially in performance. The act of breathing – respiration – includes both inspiration (breathing in) and expiration (breathing out), which gives the language a unique life each time it is spoken. Words live (inspire) and die (expire) in a single breath, making each performance a different expression in the life of the language.
One of the things I love most about Sweet Tea Shakespeare is its commitment to living out the beauty of language in performance. Every production begins with attention to the text and builds a shared understanding of the story among the actors so that each night, we can live each word with the audience, celebrating the potency and fragility of language well-lived and of a story well-told.
The process of creating the characteristic atmosphere for each Sweet Tea Shakespeare performance also inspires a unique fellowship among the cast and crew. A Sweet Tea show is never only about the play, so those who invest their time gain not only experience in acting, but the joy and satisfaction of bringing about a creative vision with like-minded people. The sweetness of this shared fellowship and understanding makes working with this company one of the joys of my life. I am honored to share in Sweet Tea Shakespeare’s vision and invite you, as you are willing and able, to own part of the vision as well.