Italian actor Raphael Schumacher was declared clinically dead on Thursday after hanging himself during a production of Mirages at the Teatro Lux in Pisa on Saturday, January 30.
The play was not performed on a traditional stage and required that audience members walk to different locations within the theater to view different scenes. The 27-year-old actor was concluding a monologue in the courtyard when he put his head in a noose that was attached to a tree.
Reportedly there was just one audience member at the time, a newly graduated medical school student, who noticed his twitching body and quickly rendered aid. She removed him from the noose and called for help. The unconcious young man was taken to University Hospital of Pisa and remained in a coma until being declared clinically dead.
Investigators are looking into what could have possibly caused the presumed accident and are focusing on four theater employees. It is suspected that proper safety requirements were not in place and there may be charges of manslaughter coming forth. One of the managers of the theater has stated that the actor had changed the final part of the monologue from a shooting scene to a hanging scene at the last minute.
However, some speculation has begun that suggests Schumacher may have committed suicide, an explanation his mother denies. In an interview with Il Terrino she said, "His father died recently and he had just broken up with someone, but he had soon regained inner peace. He didn’t leave any messages and had no reason to kill himself.”
Teatro Lux Pisa ceased performances immediately and put forth a statement on Facebook saying, "Following the imponderable tragedy that occurred at the Theater Lux in the night of Saturday 30 January, we believe it is appropriate to suspend all activities of the theatre, including the shows." There is no stated time for reopening.
Schumacher's organs were donated to those in need. Our hearts go out to Raphael's friends and family during this difficult time.