English Actor Disappears Minutes Before His Show’s Debut Performance

Stage fright is very common — even the most comfortable stage veterans get the live performance jitters.  Having anxiety before taking the stage is one thing, but English actor Ben Stirling took stage fright to a whole new level earlier this month, according to the Daily Mail.

Stirling was all set to star as American entertainer Jimmy Durante in the new musical Goodnight Mrs Calabash at the Gatehouse Theatre in Highgate, London when he went for what he said was a bathroom break an hour before showtime.  However, Stirling neglected to tell his fellow cast members that the bathroom he was heading for was apparently his mother’s in Scotland.  When the cast went to find Stirling fifteen minutes later, he was long gone!

With such little time before the play began, the producers were forced to cancel the performance and turn away the approximately sixty people in the audience with refunds. 

John Plews, artistic director of Upstairs at the Gatehouse, admits that he felt conflicted about the situation, saying, “At first we felt sorry for Ben because he obviously had a problem, but then we felt really angry because he had let down so many people.”  In all, the production was canceled for eight days.

Stirling is no newcomer to theatre, having recently appeared in worldwide tours of Fame and Jesus Christ Superstar, and the producers invested £350 in having a fake nose custom made for Stirling to play Durante, who was famous for his distinctively large nose.  Unfortunately, no one else is able to wear the custom-made prosthetic, although actor Tim Frost has stepped up to replace Stirling in the show.  Frost learned the entire part — including fifteen songs — in just four days.

There’s no word on exactly why Stirling flew the coop — Plews admits they have not had contact with him — but beyond hoping that he is mentally all right I think it’s fair to say it will be a long time before anyone offers him a theatrical role again. 

Leave a Reply

http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/lena-headley-game-of-thrones.jpg
Lena Headey Talks ‘Game of Thrones’ And Bringing Humanity to Cersei
"Everything I do with my job, I do because I am intrigued by a character" - Lena Headey
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/ryan-gosling-lost-river.jpg
Ryan Gosling on Using Dreams in Acting and How He Regards Bad Reviews
"That's a style of acting that's pretty popular right now, where actors use their dreams to connect whatever material they're working on." - Ryan Gosling
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Charlie-Cox-Vincent-DOnofrio-Daredevil.jpg
‘Daredevil’ Stars Charlie Cox and Vincent D’Onofrio on Working Together in the Marvel Universe
"I think it was finding how to portray Fisk in an emotional way, as well as a menacing way." - Vincent D'Onofrio on Playing the Kingpin in 'Daredevil'
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/scott-eastwood-the-longest-ride.jpg
Scott Eastwood on His Rise to Fame: “The only thing I can say is that I’ve been doing this for 12 years”
"As quick as somebody can be 'the guy' in Hollywood, he can be gone the next minute. For me, it's about doing great work" - Scott Eastwood
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/steve-coogan-happyish.jpg
Steve Coogan on Filling Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Shoes and Becoming ‘Happyish’
"This is kind of like a vacation for me. All I have to do is concentrate on the character and capture the voice.” - Steve Coogan on Happyish