Doctors have started the procedures to assess brain death in Raphael Schumacher, the actor in a coma after being choked when a hanging scene he was performing went wrong.
Tests started at 2 p.m. (1 p.m. GMT), a spokesperson at Cisanello Hospital in Pisa told CNN, adding that if the actor’s condition doesn’t change by the end of the six-hour procedures (7 p.m. GMT), he will be declared brain dead.
Schumacher was performing in an experimental production in the courtyard of Pisa’s Teatro Lux when a member of the audience noticed that the rope around his neck was so tight it was actually killing him.
Schumacher was wearing a covering on his head, but the spectator — a female medical graduate — saw him trembling and realized something was wrong. She ran to him, loosened the noose, and with the help of another spectator, lowered him to the ground. He was taken to hospital shortly after.
Police have launched an investigation into the incident and say that investigators are verifying if proper safety procedures were in place.
Schumacher changed the play’s script at the last minute, the directors of the theater company told Italian newspaper Il Giorno: “The original monologue included a fake gunshot but he eventually decided for the hanging — without telling us.”
The play’s scenes take place in different parts of the theater, with spectators walking through them. Schumacher was performing in the courtyard at the time of the incident.