By Jackson Riley
Fans, friends and critics alike were shocked when the high-profile opening of Pamploma was abruptly cut short at The Goodman Theatre tonight. Celebrity actor Stacy Keach, who is featured in the one man play as Ernest Hemingway, is said to have fallen ill.
The production was troubled from the start. Keach appeared absolutely lost in his script, repeating lines and even mentioning looking for "a beat." The technical cues were muddled without Keach on book, with one especially uncomfortable moment coming when the projections suddenly went backwards, attempting to find their place in Keach's rewritten script.
A stage manager called for a hold. Through the speakers, a voice informed guests that the show was experiencing technical difficulties. Keach left the stage. After a few minutes, the play's director and Artistic Director of the Goodman Theater, Robert Falls, informed the audience that the show would not go on. Opening night would conclude where it had suddenly stopped.
Producers say Keach had informed the team that he was feeling ill but wanted to go on for the performance. No understudy is listed in the program, and it is unclear at this time if the rest of the week's performances will move forward. We certainly hope that Mr. Keach rests up and feels better soon!
Update: The Goodman Theatre posted the following message on their Facebook page shortly after 10pm.
Goodman Theatre had to unexpectedly halt this evening’s performance of PAMPLONA by Jim McGrath. The show’s star, Stacy Keach, had not been feeling well earlier in the day, but made the decision to go on with the performance. When it became clear midway through that Mr. Keach was struggling, Director Robert Falls took the stage and announced that the performance would conclude. Performances are expected to resume as scheduled.