Italian actor Raphael Schumacher was strangled while re-enacting a hanging scene during a Mirages performance at the Lux Theater, in Pisa, Italy. The incident occurred on Saturday during an interactive performance. One spectator realized that something had gone wrong.
The actor had been in a coma, but has now officially been declared brain dead. On Thursday, a six-hour procedure was completed to establish brain death, and Cisanello Hospital released a statement, per CNN News.
“The family and the prosecutor’s office have both authorized that his organs be donated, but their removal will be subject to a medical assessment to be performed in the course of the night.”
— Variety (@Variety) February 5, 2016
Twenty-seven-year-old Schumacher recited a monologue in a scene about the angst of a 15-year-old boy. At the end of the scene, the actor placed his head in a noose to demonstrate death by hanging. The scene was acted out in front of one person, a female medical school graduate, who saw the actor’s body twitching. Although Schumacher’s head was covered, the woman realized something was wrong.
Another theater goer helped the woman lower Schumacher and loosen the noose from around his neck. It was the end of his scene, and he was found unconscious and deprived of oxygen. He never recovered consciousness, and doctors said he suffered irreversible brain damage.
Two directors and two stage technicians are being investigated for manslaughter in the death of the actor. The four theater workers may be liable for not following workplace safety protocols.
Prosecutors are looking into the specifics of the incident, as the actor’s mother and close friends have shared information that has led to ruling out the possibility of suicide.
In light of this, the probe will not focus on intentional bodily harm, but manslaughter. It is assumed that the hanging was accidental.
There was supposed to be a box underneath Schumacher, but it was removed prior to the scene. Per the Daily Mail, a source reported on the measures that should have been in place.
“The noose should have been fake and a harness should have caught him if he fell. I cannot explain how an incident like this happened.”
There are six scenes in Mirages, played in various parts of the theater, and the audience walks from one scene to another.
Schumacher’s act was staged in the courtyard, with a rope hanging from a tree. He had played the scene, without incident, earlier in the evening.
Gabriele De Luca, art director of the theater said no one could explain how the accident happened and law enforcement would have to investigate and disclose findings.
— CNN International (@cnni) February 4, 2016
However, De Luca also stated that Schumacher changed the scene without notice.
“The original monologue included a fake gunshot but he eventually decided for the hanging — without telling us,” reports Italian newspaper Il Giorno.
Initially, the police had a theory that Schumacher tried to kill himself, but his mother shed light on his state of mind, added the Daily Mail.
“My son recently lost his father and had ended a relationship but had found his serenity again. He didn’t leave a suicide note and had no reason to kill himself.”
After examining text messages and interviewing friends, the mother’s thoughts have been confirmed, which resulted in a switch in the investigation from a possible suicide to an accident caused by neglect. The investigation is still under way, and friends and family of the actor with a promising future are mourning his untimely death.
[Photo via Facebook]