UPDATE: American Stage Artistic Director Todd Olson announced on Facebook today that there will be a performance tonight, Saturday Sept. 22, of Hysteria. Said Olson: "HYSTERIA, the amazing story that plays over and over...plays tonight!"
In his curtain speech before Thursday night's performance of Hysteria at American Stage, board member Matt Conigliaro told the audience that the play would be "surreal." That wasn't much of a surprise, considering the plot involves an encounter between Sigmund Freud and Salvador Dalì. But the description would turn out to be much more accurate than Conigliaro could have known.
As a Norton judge, I wouldn't ordinarily be able to talk about what I saw, but this was not a reviewable performance. The first act began well, but somewhere in the middle it became clear something was wrong — either that or the script had some serious redundancy issues.
As it turned out, there was indeed a problem, but it wasn't the script. Production Stage Manager Karla Hartley stepped onto the stage before the second act to announce that one of the actors was unable to continue, and that the show could not go on.
This afternoon, American Stage explained what happened in a statement cancelling tonight's performance:
The Friday evening performance of HYSTERIA has been cancelled due to actor illness. During the performance on Thursday evening, Michael Edwards who plays Freud suddenly took ill. The performance was halted at intermission for precautionary measures for Michael’s health. Michael is eager to return to the production and is currently undergoing evaluation and observation to ensure his wellbeing. American Stage will notify patrons regarding the return of Michael to the stage for the Saturday evening performance by 3pm tomorrow, Saturday September 22.
Best wishes to Edwards, a veteran actor who was wonderful in Tuesdays with Morrie. Here's hoping he's fine and the play resumes its run; I look forward to seeing it again for the first time.
This marks the second American Stage season in a row in which an actor's illness has affected a run. Last year, Gene D'Allesandro was unable to continue with his role in A Steady Rain, dropping out just before tech rehearsals. Justin Campbell stepped in as his replacement — and ironically enough, he's now playing the role of Dalì in Hysteria.