Monday, October 10, 2011

In Honor of the Lady Lorraine Sussex

This weekend I was saddened to learn of the sudden passing of Lorraine Sullo, known to thousands at the PA Renaissance Faire as The Duchess of Sussex, or simply "Sussex," to those who dared be "familiar" with her.

I first met Lorraine over 20 years ago when I was cast in the professional Shakespearean troupe for the Faire. Behind the scenes she was the Art Director for the Faire and was responsible for every visual tool used to promote the Faire, inside and out. She also designed some of the costumes and always had a stunning gown to wear every year. She was the Queen's "right hand," and never ceased to amuse with her wickedly razor-sharp wit. She was also a phenomenal archer.

I first met her as a peasant rogue, which I think she liked. Maybe it was because I would grovel at her feet or do some of her sly errands.

The next year, I became part of the Queen's Court as the historical Lady Penelope Devereaux, and I'm sure I gave Sussex a run for her money, because she didn't know what to do with me! I was also a fae-touched grave digger named Ophelia, and ended my run at the Faire as the inn keeper, Frida Synne. I also played Queen Elizabeth for a corporate event, and Lorraine attended upon me, always in character as the quintessential Queen's lady.

We shared so many laughs - on and off the fairgrounds - and she was a dear friend of my husband, Rob, and myself.

(Lorraine and Robbie as Sussex and Cardinal Synne)

She was one of a kind, and definitely had a hand in shaping my world in those early days.

I can't believe she's gone. She seemed like such a constant, but her passing has taught me you can't take life for granted, that you must live each day to the fullest and share it with those you love.

The knights at the Faire said, "She died with her boots on," because she had had a wonderful day performing and then went home, passing away in her sleep. I hope her spirit is at peace and knows how much we all loved her.

Farewell, my friend.

1 comment:

Bill said...

Thank you for sharing this beautiful tribute. I learned of Lorraine's passing on Sunday from some of the Shire folk. She was definitely a presence at the Faire and entertained me and my family for many seasons.