Goodman pulls the plug on Stacy Keach’s opening-night performance of Pamplona | Bleader

Goodman pulls the plug on Stacy Keach’s opening-night performance of Pamplona

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Stacy Keach as Hemingway in Pamplona - LIZ LAUREN
  • Liz Lauren
  • Stacy Keach as Hemingway in Pamplona
UPDATE [6/6]: The Goodman Theatre announced today that actor Stacy Keach suffered "a mild heart attack" during the opening night performance of his solo Hemingway show, Pamplona, May 30.  The show was halted and the run subsequently canceled, but Goodman now says Keach is expected to recover, and that plans are under way to reschedule the production.

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An hour into the Tuesday-night opening performance of Pamplona, a solo show featuring Stacy Keach as Ernest Hemingway, the lights came up, and an offstage voice announced, "We are having technical difficulties. Mr. Keach, please leave the stage."

Keach did, and a few seconds later, Goodman artistic director (and the show's director) Robert Falls came onstage, introduced himself, and put an end to it. "Mr. Keach has been sick all day, but wanted to go on," Falls said. "He wanted to give you this show. The performance is not going as we intended. We're ending it now."

The stunned audience applauded before it filed out.

Until that point, this world premiere of a new play by Jim McGrath— which was to run about an hour and a half without intermission—was looking troubled. Set in a Spanish hotel room in 1959, it consisted of a repetitious, sometimes stumbling monologue from the ravaged mind of the aging and ill writer as he struggled to get a single sentence on paper.

It was painful to watch and, apparently, on this night, too real to continue.

The Pamplona program does not list an understudy. The play has already been extended and is scheduled to run through June 25.  

The Goodman subsequently issued this statement:

"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."

Keach last collaborated with Falls in the Goodman's 2006 production of King Lear.


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