Author Topic: Drunk Actor  (Read 10006 times)

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Drunk Actor
« on: Sep 25, 2007, 08:59 am »

I've just had to cancel a performance of a touring children's theatre production due to an actor turning up for a 10:00 a.m. performance so drunk that I still don't know how he managed to walk to the theatre without falling into a gutter!

The actor in question is a ridiculously talented, though agentless 21-year old whose career is just starting, and unfortunately may be just ending as well.  

He turned up in the morning for a 10:00 a.m. matinee still stinking drunk from the night before, with eyes like pissholes in the snow, staggering around the stage roaring, "Pint of Bud! Pint of Bud!" whilst the others were doing their "Cup of tea" vocal warm-up.  He actually even fell off the stage twice.  The first time, the venue technician caught him, but the second time he was on his own because the venue technician was back with me, saying that he had a problem with someone that drunk being backstage.  It's a pretty physical show, and one of the other actors came up and said to me that she had a serious problem going onstage with someone that drunk, and that she was worried that he might injure her in one of the lifts and that he might indeed injure himself.

I had pretty much decided that I would have to cancel the show at this point, but thank God I didn't have to make the decision on my own, as the company administrator and the general manager were on their way to the venue already, unbeknownst to any of the cast.  After confronting him myself to no avail, I assembled the full company in the dressing room, and said that it was my opinion that we should not go ahead with this performance, but would like to hear everyone else's opinion if they had one.  At this point, two of the other actors said that they did not feel comfortable going onstage with someone so drunk, and the others nodded.  Well, the drunken one absolutely exploded with rage.  He was that kind of drunk where one feels totally and irrationally confident that one is capable of doing anything, such as drive a car...  He made the extremely foolish mistake of telling the general manager, "I'm fine, I'm fine.  I jusht had a few beers lasht night is all.  I've done the show much drunker than this before!" before turning on us all, getting extremely defensive, and telling us all to go f**k ourselves and that the "whole thing is being blown compleel... compleel... torally awa perpor... perpor... proporshn," before storming out and falling down the stairs.

We have another two and a half months of this tour to go...  HELP.


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Re: Drunk Actor
« Reply #1 on: Sep 25, 2007, 03:46 pm »
I have to share a story, too.  When I SM'd for a small company many years ago, we had a wonderful, established actor I'll call Bill (He's now gone on to the great rehearsal hall in the sky) who had a drinking problem.  For some reason, halfway through the run of each show in which he was cast, Bill would decide to go on the wagon and would come to the theater with a full case of DTs.  The director would nurse him through, telling me to go get Bill a little "medicine," which meant 1/4 of a beer.  It was always so special, not knowing which scene Bill would decide we were doing when the lights came up, etc. 

During my first performance dealing with this issue, as we went into a blackout, the director popped his head into the booth and said, "Hold the blackout; we have to take Bill to his chair."  The problem is I heard, "Hold the blackout; we have to TIE Bill to his chair."  Needless to say, the audience sat in the dark a very long time as I tried to envision ropes going around a shaking actor's waist!

Ah, the good old days!


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Re: Drunk Actor
« Reply #2 on: Sep 26, 2007, 01:08 am »
I also have a story about an actor with a drinking problem.  We will call her Jane.  She is with Lilz's Bill in the Big Rehearsal in the Sky.

For an 8:00 show, I get a frantic phone call at about 7:05.

Jane: Jessie, come get me.  You HAVE to come get me. COME GET ME!
Me: Ok, Jane.  Yes, I will get you.  Where are you?
Jane: Come get me. Come get me. Come get me.  You have to get me.
Me: Ok, calm down.  Where are you?  I will get you.
-sounds of someone wrestling the phone out of her hands-
Voice: Hello this is Officer John from the City Police.
Me: Hello, officer.  Are you with Jane?
Officer: Yes, we have Ms. Jane Smith here in custody at City Police Station.
Me: May I ask what happened?
Officer: We have arrested her for DUI.
Me: Ok.  Is she allowed to go?
Officer: Yes but someone will need to get her.  The car has been impounded and she is not able to drive.

So I got the producer, we held the curtain.  Producer went to go get her (45 min away) and Jane was still falling down drunk when she arrived.   We slapped her wig on her and somehow got throw the show.

After threats from producer, she shaped up (kind of) she ending up staying sober until the last few performances.  That is sober before the show.  After all bets were off and we all toke turns driving her home.

Sadly, she passed away a few months later from cancer.  (Freaky considering her character gets cancer in the show).  I wonder if she knew and hence the drinking.