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A lasting impression
Playwright Kushner was visibly moved as he took a bow with the actors on opening night of “Caroline.” He later told Oglesby that, in her “remarkable, magnificent” performance, she had brought to life things that even he had not seen in the work he wrote.
“Caroline” director Marcela Lorca, who first worked with Oglesby when she choreographed “The Winter’s Tale” at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, where Oglesby was a member of the company for two seasons, said that Caroline could easily be off-putting.
“Her sadness about being unable to change at a time, 1963, when the nation is in the bitter throes of racial progress, could be toxic and corrosive,” she said. “But Greta finds the emotional palette to make her pain riveting. You cling to her journey at every turn.”
Oglesby said she approached the role “from a heart place. You want the audience to empathize with her, to feel her pain and see how vulnerable she really is,” she said. “Of course, it has to all come across in the singing, so I try to bring lots of color, warmth and texture to my voice, so the audience feels she’s multifaceted, not just a one-note Caroline.”
In her performance, Oglesby is also paying tribute to her late aunt, Guylene Simmons, who worked as a domestic for many years.
“She never complained about it or came home with horror stories,” said Oglesby, who is writing a tribute to her aunt. “She was very strong-willed and probably the happiest person I’ve ever known. She taught me that life really can be good, full of laughter and joy.”
Rohan Preston • 612-673-4390