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/2017/09/Bill-Skarsgard-Pennywise-IT.jpg
Bill Skarsgard on Playing Pennywise in ‘It’: “It was by far the most exhausting character I’ve ever done, physically and mentally”
"I was equally as excited as I was terrified when I booked the job, because now these people expected me to pull it off." - Bill Skarsgard
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/sophie-turner-game-of-thrones.jpg
Sophie Turner on Falling in Love with Acting and Playing Sansa on ‘Game of Thrones’
"To be able to flesh out a character for over eight or so years has been really amazing." - Sophie Turner on Playing Sansa Stark
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/kit-harrington-game-of-thrones.jpg
Kit Harington on Playing Jon Snow: “You take every scene as it comes”
"You just look like an actor wanting to change the character if you then go back and betray what your first instincts were." - Kit Harington
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/dave-bautista-bushwick.jpg
Dave Bautista on Shooting the Low-Budget Film, ‘Bushwick’
Bautista spoke about why he took the role even though he didn't initially like the script and what he brought to the character.
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/griffin-newman-tick.jpg
Griffin Newman on ‘The Tick’: “When I got the call back and I moved along in the process, it made me more desperate to be part of it.”
"My lifelong quest has been to figure out how sad you can make things, and also be funny." - Griffin Newman