This morning, I woke up to a Slack notification from Amalie with a link to an Instagram video of Glenn Close talking into, but not really looking at her iPhone camera. She was expressing great upset to be away from the supportive ground that enabled her becoming Glenn Close—New York. Watching and listening to her intimate account of longing, it was hard not to feel the goosebumps ride up my spine and arms in tandem, meet at my neck and then continue up for a release from the ducts of my eyes. I don’t think I cried because I love New York too, although I do, believe me. But through the legendary performance inherent to her flavor of expression, it occurred to me that so many of us—maybe, in fact, every last one of us—feels far from some part of their hearts right now. There is a comfort in knowing we’re connected by that.
I think I’m getting too earnest in quarantine, but anyway, the 5-minute monologue is transcribed below. Enjoy it at your leisure if you need a good cry, or even if you don’t. Then call someone you like. It’ll feel good.
I’m thinking about New York tonight. Really, really missing it. I wish I were there, going through all this in the city that nurtured me, from the very beginning of my career, which has always brought me huge comfort, comfort in the crowds in the subway, comfort walking along the streets, comfort in my neighborhood.
People just let you be who you are.
All the dogs. I miss Grounded—a great little coffee shop around the corner.
I remember I auditioned once. It was for Rex, it was for the next-to-last Richard Rogers musical and it was probably ill-conceived because it was about Henry VIII and his wives, not all of them but some of them. Maybe not the best subject for a musical but it was Richard Rogers and I was so lucky to be part of something like that in the early part of my career.
Anyway, I went in and I read and sang, I always got so nervous at singing rehearsals, oof, I mean singing auditions. I remember leaving the theater and thinking Oh boy, I did not do well, I did not do my best, they did not see me at my best and there is nothing worse than that. It’s like going through an exam and coming out knowing that you didn’t do well and you feel terrible because you know you’re capable of doing better.
So, I wrote them a letter and I said, please give me a second chance, I don’t feel that I gave you my best. And I had originally read for the part of Ann Boleyn, but I went back and read again and got the part of Mary Tudor who was basically Bloody Mary. I remember going out of the theater and literally it was like the streets were paved with gold. I felt I wasn’t even touching the sidewalk because I had a chance.
I had a chance, I had a job, I’d be measuring myself against other actors and learning, and observing, but I remember the feeling of walking down the sidewalk in the theater district. The world was my oyster. And I wonder why they say “It’s as if the streets were paved with gold” because I think for us [New Yorkers] it’s not about gold, it’s about the absolute thrill—the joy of being able to do what you want most in the world to do and what you feel is why you’re here.
To have that chance.
That’s New York for me. The city of endless adventure, endless possibility.
Feature photos via Glenn Close.