I have to get something off my chest, something that has been haunting me now for four years. I need to apologise to Greg Wise.
I don't know Greg Wise but I know who he is. You must do too. He's an actor, now married to Emma Thompson, who played the dashing villain in the movie of "Sense and Sensibility". Yes, him. The one on the horse.
In 2009 I was rehearsing Doctor Atomic at ENO's West Hampstead and occasionally some of us would potter up West End Lane to have lunch in a health food shop. One day, we were leaving the shop, probably being a bit singery and noisy, and a man who was coming into the shop, stood aside and held the door for us. Very polite. I was the last to leave and noticed that the polite man looked familiar.
Oh look! It's that actor chap from Sense and Sensibility! The one who married Emma Thompson. Greg Wise! Oh yeah, come to think of it, didn't I read that they live somewhere around here? I guess this must be a regular haunt. I remember seeing her up by Highgate House many years ago. Of course, she and I were at Cambridge together, or rather we were both there at roughly the same time I think. I remember seeing her in Footlights. Small world, now that her husband is holding the door open for us. I wonder if he realises that us lot are also in THE THEATRE? Why should he? I could tell him I suppose. Oh don't be daft.
All that, in a nano-second. At the same time feeling the rising urge, the impending excitement of pointing out to my fellow singers who it was who had just held the door open for us.
As I got to the pavement I remembered a faintly disgusted expression on Greg Wise's face as I passed him. It dawned on me with mounting self-disgust that in all my schoolgirlish excitement, my pathetic inner dialogue, I'd overlooked the simple courtesy of saying thank you to a polite man who'd held open a door. No wonder he looked faintly pissed off. I would if I were him. Now it was too late. I couldn't exactly go back into the shop and apologise for being rude, not with him being Greg Wise and everything. I'd look like a stalker. So I did nothing, and it has festered ever since, largely because I imagine it has festered with him too. Not in a major way, but in the same way I still get indignant about a bloke who once cut me off on a roundabout, who was completely in the wrong and yet who crowned his bad behaviour by flicking me a finger as he passed. It still gets on my tits.
So, Mr Wise, Greg if I may, I am so sorry I was so inconsiderate and rude four years ago. Thank you for holding the door open. It was a very decent and courteous gesture, especially to a bunch of boorish strangers. Never again will I be bamboozled by someone opening a door for me, even if it's Judi Dench. I will always say thank you, and more importantly I'll hold the door for strangers, no matter how theatrical.