Actor strangled on stage. His conditions worsened further

Raphael Schumacher

Pisa: Raphael Schumacher was strangled while performing a hanging scene between last Saturday night and early Sunday morning

PISA. Last night, Raphael Schumacher’s conditions worsened still further. The 27-year-old actor, from the Province of Como, was strangled while performing a hanging scene between last Saturday night and early Sunday morning.

Pisa’s Public Prosecutor suspects it is a work accident more than a suicide attempt. Investigators are following up this lead, while they are still trying to better verify the details of the accident.

The prosecutor interrogated once again the female medical graduate who first noticed the actor was trembling and called for help. More than two hours to go back over those tragic 4-5 minutes when it all happened: an unbelievable yet truly mysterious tragedy.

Investigators are verifying if proper workplace safety procedures required by law were in place. "The actor was supposed to perform a short monologue, revolving around the difficulties experienced by a fifteen-year old boy and including a hanging simulation at the end - prosecutor Giancarlo Dominijanni said -. The original script included an interaction between the spectator and Schumacher before the tragic event. It was performed successfully earlier on Saturday evening, when he ended the scene laying his head in the noose". Andrea Vescio, one of the managers of the theatre “Lux” gave a different explanation of the events. "The script included a different ending, a gunshot. Raphael changed it without telling us".

These details do not change the investigation framework: "Schumacher had already performed the same monologue in front of a spectator, without any problem. Then, in the next enactment the young graduate made the tragic discovery. Our objective is to understand what really happened in those 4 or 5minutes. What took place afterwards is secondary”, the prosecutor said. Then again – he added – the only thing we are sure of is Schumacher’s present medical condition: the brain damages he suffered are compatible with hanging and strangling, but not with a possible sudden illness which could have caused his slipping in the noose and consequent strangling". Schumacher’s mother was in hospital all day long watching over her son. Even the mayor Marco Filippeschi paid her a visit, as Schumacher’s friends and the managers of “The Thing”, the association which is in charge of the cultural space where the tragedy took place.

(translated by Sharon Braithwaite)