December 11, 2008

Actor in a suicide scene -- on stage -- stabs himself in the neck with a real knife.

That would be a dramatic way to actually commit suicide -- showy suicides are so hostile -- but Daniel Hoevels -- as Mortimer in Schiller's "Maria Stuart" -- was the unwitting victim of somebody's failure to blunt the new prop knife.

Negligence or attempted murder?

24 comments:

MadisonMan said...

Good plot for a murder mystery.

EDH said...

The actor survived the suicide scene!

After all, a knife is a handy survival tool.

Thank God they didn't use one of those "survival" braclets as a prop! Those things are killers.

Now I'm confused.

kynefski said...

I'm pretty sure that you couldn't accidently kill yourself with a knife.

A weird kind of assault, maybe.

sonicfrog said...

This reminds me of comedian Dick Shawn. He would pull really crazy stuff on stage. During one performance in San Diego, earlier in the act, Shawn was joking about the nuclear apocalypse. A few minutes later, he portrayed a politician reciting campaign clichés, including, "If elected, I will not lay down on the job." When he fell face down on the stage, the audience thought it was part of the act. After some time had gone by, there were catcalls. Finally, someone appeared on stage, kneeled down to examine Shawn, stood up and asked, "Is there a doctor in the house?" Another person came on stage, turned him over and began administering CPR. The audience was told to go home, but almost no one left since it appeared to be part of Shawn's act. When paramedics arrived, bewildered audience members began leaving, still unsure of what they had witnessed. A notice in the following day's San Diego Union newspaper (not on page one) clarified that Shawn had indeed experienced a heart attack on stage and died.

Much of that was lifted from the Wiki (I don't usually trust Wiki as a source), but it sounds about right. I remember Shawns because I was a drama student in San Diego at the time and me and my friends had a long conversation about it, and what would happen to us if something were to happen to us on stage. Then we went out and got stoned or something. Those were heady days.

Oligonicella said...

In my experience with actors and pointy, cutty props... they're generally idiots whose minds it fails to enter that the prop might actually cause damage or -- getting carried away with the moment -- for-friggin-get.

Michael_H said...

Method acting.

cardeblu said...

I think I saw that plot line on "Monk" or "Psych" (or both).

Tibore said...

Unemployment in Europe... I'm telling you, there's at least one prop guy looking for a new job today. From having worked at a lighting technician (i.e. lamp monkey) at an opera house as a student, I can tell you that crew negligence that leads to cast harm is most definitely a fireable offense. If a light I set up hurt an actor, I would've been gone on the spot, nevermind waiting til the next day.

Now, was it murder? Heh... someone else needs to give me that answer. All I know is that I can see a screwup like this happening in the heat of getting the production going.

Mr. Smarterthanyou said...

This just shows again how stupid artsy types are and why we should not care what they think about politics or world events.

ron st.amant said...

Madison Man, it's "something" like Deathtrap in a way...a great film with Chris Reeve and Michael Caine. Thought that didn't involve suicide as a plot point.

Kirk Parker said...

Which actor was it who killed himself by shooting himself in the head with a blank round?

Mark Daniels said...

cardeblu:
It's similar to the plot of 'Mr. Monk Goes to the Theater.'

Mark

Joe said...

You may be thinking of Brandon Lee, the what happened was actually rather complex:

How Brandon Lee Died

More recently actor Jon-Erik Hexum shot himself in the head playing with a gun with blanks; a clear candidate for a Darwin award.

Kirk Parker said...

Joe,

Hexum is definitely the one I'm thinking of--thanks for doing the legwork on this!

Synova said...

I don't suppose that one would stab one's self in the throat with a blunt knife either! So, he likely slightly "missed" missing slightly.

BUT!

Blame someone for not blunting the knife? He was handling the thing, didn't he look at it?

Synova said...

I think there has been at least two actors who shot, and killed, themselves with guns with blanks in them.

cardeblu said...

Mark Daniels: Yup, AND, it was also similar to an episode of "Psych" in "Lights, Camera... Homicidio."

Life imitates art...or at least TV shows.

Freeman Hunt said...

Anytime you are working with prop weapons, it behooves you to hire someone extraordinarly meticulous to be in charge of them. It's not a job that allows any tolerance of irresponsibility. Anyone involved with not preparing the knife properly should be fired and not hired by anyone else ever again for a similar position.

It is not up to the actors to inspect props. It is up to the actors to act, and that's all they should be focusing on.

Bissage said...

When I was in college an actor died during a staging of Eugène Ionesco’s “La Leçon.”

The audience went mad with excitement and applause and demanded four curtain calls.

zeek said...

Sounds like a bad episode of Murder She Wrote.

rhhardin said...

Erving Goffman writes somewhere, probably in _Frame Analysis_, that a stage or film kiss is not classified as a real kiss, under the idea that it isn't ``felt,'' but there is no such distinction for sexual intercourse.

The classification of an accidental stage stabbing would have to be very careful, as to what it is.

Quip about penetration goes here.

Trooper York said...

"Sounds like a bad episode of Murder She Wrote."

WTF, there was a good episode of Murder She Wrote?

Eric said...

It is not up to the actors to inspect props. It is up to the actors to act, and that's all they should be focusing on.

While that's true, it's also true pilots run through a preflight checklist even though the mechanic is supposed to have taken care of everything. When a life is on the line it's best to use a belt and suspenders.

John Bragg said...

Also figures prominently in an episode of the first season of Rowan Atkinson's "Black Adder" series. Prince Edmund conspires to eliminate the King's favorite general by switching the prop knives in "Death of a Pharoah" (with the general as the special guest Pharoah) with real knives. The plot is aborted when Edmund learns that the general has interest of information to Edmund.