Italian actor Raphael Schumacher has been declared dead after he was accidentally strangled during a stage-hanging scene that went horribly wrong.
According to Italian news agency ANSA, two directors and two stage technicians are now under investigation for manslaughter. The four production crew members may also be liable for failing to follow workplace safety regulations, prosecutors said.
Some people floated the theory that Schumacher, 27, orchestrated his own death because he changed the play’s script at the last minute; the original scene used a fake gunshot, but he decided on the hanging — without telling the directors of the theatre company.
Schumacher was performing in a production in the courtyard of Pisa’s Teatro Lux, in an experimental play format where only one audience member is present. During the scene, that spectator noticed that the rope around his neck was too tight.
His head was covered for the fake hanging, but after the scene was through, the spectator saw the actor shaking and realized something wasn’t right. She approached him, with the help of another audience member, to loosen the noose and eventually lowered him down. He was taken to hospital almost immediately, but didn’t respond to any treatment there.
Police are investigating the incident.
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