Veteran stage director Sir Peter Hall has apologised for disrupting 'Downton Abbey' actress Laura Carmichael's debut stage performance.
Hall was said to be talking during the final scene of Chekhov's 'Uncle Vanya', with some reports suggesting that he was in fact heckling.
But it has since emerged that Hall had briefly fallen asleep, and had become disorientated after being woken up by his wife.
“I am mortified that I unintentionally disrupted the final scene of 'Uncle Vanya' and I have sent a personal note to Laura Carmichael offering my apologies,” he said.
“I enjoyed the evening, and her performance, immensely, and I cannot stress too strongly that my remarks were in no way directed at her or the production.
“Being rather aged I dropped off for a moment and on being woken by my wife I was briefly disorientated.
“Remarks made in the resulting confusion were not in any way related to 'Uncle Vanya', which I think is a very fine production with a marvellous company of actors.”
Carmichael plays Lady Edith Crawley in the ITV drama, and was making her debut in London's West End at the Vaudeville theatre alongside Ken Stott, Samuel West and Anna Friel.
One report in the Daily Telegraph claimed that Hall, a former director of the National Theatre, said: “Stop, stop, stop. It doesn't work and you don't work. It is not good enough. I could be at home watching television.” [BBC/Daily Telegraph]
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