Saturday, December 13, 2008

A cutting edge performance

This news item could be straight from a Ngaio Marsh novel.

As reported on

"An actor has almost died after slashing his throat on stage with a real knife instead of a blunt prop knife.

Actor Daniel Hoevels collapsed at Vienna's Burgtheater in Austria with blood pouring from his neck, and the audience even started applauding the spectacular special effects, London's Telegraph said.

It was only when the 30-year-old failed to get up to take a bow that they realised something was wrong, it said.

Hoevels's character was to commit suicide in the drama, a scene that was to be acted out with a blunt stage weapon.

But he'd been given a real blade instead, the Telegraph said.

Police were investigating the incident as a possible murder attempt, and would not rule out the possibility a jealous rival may have switched the blades.

Police were told the knife was bought at a local store, and were investigating whether props staff forgot to blunt the blade for the performance of Friedrich Schiller's play Mary Stuart, about Mary Queen of Scots, the Telegraph said.

"The knife even still had the price tag on it," a police investigator said.

The actor had emergency treatment at a local hospital.

"If Hoevels had hit an artery or cut only slightly deeper, he would have died on stage," a doctor said.

Remarkably, Hoevels returned to the stage the next night with a bandage around his neck."

In Ngaio Marsh's Enter a Murderer, the prop was a loaded gun, minus the blanks and plus the real thing that lead to the demise of one of the actors. A vintage who dunnit.

In this case, fortunately the unsuspecting actor didn't dispatch himself on the stage, but, in true the show must go on fashion, turned back up for work not long after. That's dedicated!

The Austrian police have their work cut out trying to discover who was at fault and whether the prop knife was there with malicious intent. Good luck to them dealing with actors! Where's Detective Inspector Roderick Alleyn when they need him?


Kerrie said...

I'm sure I have also read a novel where the plot was just that- a sharp knife was substituted for the stage one - the actor died - maybe it was a Charles Paris (Simon Brett) one

Anonymous said...

I read that and I KNEW it would invoke a comment from you (and perhaps another book??)

Am in Gorrre. Have written 2000plus words, had two glasses of lovely wine and read the ODT from cover to cover (except the Sport).

This is a day I LOVE being a writer.

Tania R

The Paradoxical Cat said...

I wonder if anyone could ever have thought up the odd detail that the price tag was still attached to the knife! Truth IS stranger than fiction...

A similar plot device was used in a MAGNUM PI episode called 'Double Jeopardy' in which a prop gun has real bullets and a famous film star kills her leading man.

Peter Rozovsky said...

Criminy, I saw Mary Stuart in London, but the production had no effects as special as this.
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"

Anonymous said...

I remember seeing just this plot line (minus the price tag) in a Trixie Belden story. There was also a jewellery heist happening in that one. I wonder if that was happening this time? Hmm... I am sure that the person who did it read widely!


Vanda Symon said...

Ah, I remember Trixie Beldon - there's a blast from the past!

Bronwyn Wyllie Gobb from University Book Shop tells me this could also have been straight out of a Mid-Sommer murders episode, based on one of Caroline Graham's books.

It's the whole life imitating art thing -spooky possums.