Italian actor Raphael Schumacher, 27, has been declared brain dead after he was strangled in a stage hanging scene on stage that went wrong on January 30, according to Italian news agency ANSA. Two directors and two stage technicians are under investigation for manslaughter and to determine if proper safety procedures had been taken.
Schumacher was performing for an experimental theatre production at Pisa, Italy's Teatro Lux, where spectators walked through scenes playing in different parts of the theatre. Schumacher was performing in the courtyard at the time of the incident. The actor performed his monologue in front of a single spectator and placed his head in the noose to depict suicide. Schumacher had his face covered during the incident so spectators did not realize immediately that the noose had tightened. The following spectator to arrive—a female medical graduate—noticed him trembling, and with the help of another spectator, loosened the noose and lowered him to the ground. He never regained consciousness and was pronounced dead Thursday evening. His family has authorized the donation of his organs.