What an extraordinary artist and woman was Martha Henry. I didn’t know her well; I worked as a writer on a proposed television series she would have starred in that didn’t get off the ground, and after that, we corresponded a bit. I wrote to tell her how very much I admired her exquisite, definitive production of Three Sisters at Stratford, and she sent back a sweet, humble note. I’ll never forget her incandescent performance in Long Day’s Journey into Night in 1994. She was both a powerhouse and delicate, ladylike, seemingly fragile. And yet not. Imagine, she died just a few weeks after her final performance in Albee’s Three Tall Women. My friend Tom saw the show and said she was incredible. She was near death from cancer, and incredible.
Martha expressed interest in my writing book, since she thought she’d write her memoirs, and it was my joy to send it to her. When Loose Woman came out, I offered to send the new one to her too but she wouldn’t hear of it, she insisted on buying a copy, and then gave it a rave review, her words displayed proudly and prominently wherever I can display them.
Someone wrote on Twitter,
We should have a knighthood for our great artists. Martha should have been a Dame. Dame Martha Henry. She will be that forever in my books.
On another note, and sorry to bring you down, but last night I watched one of the most appalling documentary spectacles I’ve ever seen. Four Hours at the Capital is about the January 6 insurrection; I read a glowing review or I would not have turned it on. And then I could not turn it off. It’s a brilliant piece of filmmaking, taking you from beginning to end of that disgusting event, right inside the mob as it smashes windows, howling for blood. There are interviews with staff people and politicians who were terrified, hiding inside the building, and, horrifyingly, with police officers who were trapped, one who had to beg for his life by yelling at the murderous mob, “I have kids.”
Worst, though, are the Trumpers who were part of the insurrection; they look like normal people until they open their mouths. One says, “Trump was chosen by God to lead this country.” Another says, “800,000 children a year are being kidnapped, tortured, and killed. I had to do this for the children.” And another, “I was proud of the American spirit shown that day,” as we see hooligans in helmets and cammo gear rampaging with hammers, spears, and baseball bats, and listen to the wives of policemen who died. Four committed suicide afterwards.
If I’d confronted the loathsome face of hell presented by those violent mindless rampaging fuckwads, I’d have felt suicidal too. And behind it all, goading them on, the despicable Trump and his many enablers.
As it is, I can’t wait to renounce my American citizenship. It will take years and cost a lot of money, but it will be worth it. Last night I watched the failure of a society – the epic, abject failure of its education system, of its media, of any kind of social control – of the remotest glimmer of common sense. Angry white men out of control – they all looked like Nazis on Kristallnacht to me.