So here's the thing. When you are in a public profession, you have to maintain a certain level of anonimity when it comes to the things you share on a public website like this. And sometimes, yes, that bums me out. OH! [Insert grand theatrical gesture here] the stories I could share if I could reveal all! Oh the reputations I could probably annihilate. But naturally I won't. I will annihilate my own reputation with stories of flying red shoes, idiotic conversations with John Cusack, and laying face-down in a dumpster whilst speaking to one's agent. I think that is enough annhilation for a lifetime.
But today I feel the need to wax lyrical. I feel full of pride and excitement for a person I love more than anything. And I need to share it with you, dear reader...
So. I have this friend. And as I explained above, I don't write about her in this blog because she is a liiiiiiittle bit famous (okay, actually quite famous), and I feel very protective of her privacy, her integrity, and her feelings (in a way I don't feel entirely bothered about with Sir Simon or Sir Trevor or John Cusack, for that matter). Therefore, I like to limit myself when it comes to the things I share about this phenomenal woman, who happens to be one of the most important people in my life.
She is my "Chosen Sister," my inspiration, my barometer. I love her deeply and when I think of our friendship, our laughter, our tears and our beyond-belief talks; I feel that together we can take on anything. She is one of those people. She makes you feel more powerful because she is there.
She is one of the best people in the world.
She is so much more than just an actress. and singer. (and shit-hot dancer by they way).
She is part of a select few.
She is the real deal.
She is Ruthie Henshall and I adore her.
My Ruthiewithaheart. (That is, to explain, Ruthie, written with the dot on top of the "I" as a heart... instead of a dot...)
Once in an odd while, we come across things, people, landscapes, that make us, as Ayn Rand puts it, "answer and say YES." You see a piece of art, you read a piece of writing, you meet someone so authentic and direct, so startling and real; and your whole being responds with a Yes. An underlined Yes. Yes with an exclamation point.
I felt that way the day I met the Ruthie. June 5th, in the late morning, at a conservatory filled with sunlight. And when we saw one another, we both recognized each other. When we began talking, we felt like friends. Sure, there was enormous professional pressure, but that was not the deepest flavor. Instead, I felt comfort. We laughed, mostly. We slipped into a friendship like sliding into warm water, and we haven’t left yet.
Talking with her felt like keeping my hand wrapped around a warm cup of coffee. Conversation tasted like potato-leek soup, like apple crisp, like cake just out of the oven. We wafted vanilla and sugar between us. We devoured each other’s words, and every one of them felt like Yes. And in those first few shared moments, I honestly felt all the years that would follow, all the days together, all the laughing and comfort. That moment is when I said Yes to Ruthie. I want to write yes, with an underline, in the air. There might be other lifetimes between us before this. Who knows? I only know Yes. I only know how much I adore her. Yes — with an exclamation point. Ruthie — with a heart.
And all I have to say to all of those who love her, and all of those who love the theatre: you must... YOU MUST see this woman give what many are referring to as the performance of her career in Marguerite, a new musical co-written by Michel Legrand & the creators of Les Misérables, which opens this week at the Theatre Royal Haymarket. It plays until November, and you mustn't miss it. The world premiere of an original musical is a rare event in the West End, but Marguerite, is more than that. What Ruthie is doing is incredibly brave and important. And I am more proud than I could ever hope to articulate. For more reasons than I could ever name.