"I was so sick for most of the run of the show. Some days I would sleep right until the time I had to go to the theatre," Fox News quoted him as saying.
"I didn't know what was wrong with me. I was exhausted. Finally, I went to a doctor at Greenwich Hospital in Connecticut just so it wouldn't turn into a circus. He said, 'youve got to stop working.' My heart rate was 47. My mercury level was off the charts. I hadn't had a real break in 20 years of acting," he stated.
Among those who could not take in Piven's mercury excuse was playwright David Mamet. "He wants to be a thermometer," Mamet said. Piven did not take offence at the comment and instead found it funny. "But what do you expect? He's a great writer," he said.
The actor also believes that the play's producers are fuelling the fire in the New York press, but it does not bother him. "My life has always been in the theatre. I was raised in the theatre," he added.