(CNN) — An Italian actor is in a coma after he was strangled when the hanging scene he was performing went wrong, according to Italian police.
Raphael Schumacher, 27, was performing in an experimental production 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 where he is now fighting for his life.
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 accident happened at Pisa’s Teatro Lux and the production that Schumacher was acting in was called “Mirages.” 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.