With early showings ending up disastrous and the official opening delayed from January 11 to February 7, the Broadway production of Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark has enough problems as it stands. However, its list of misfortunes can now add an injury (the fourth overall) sustained by a cast member during a performance on Monday. With details of the incident just now emerging, it was revealed that ensemble member and aerialist Christopher Tierney was the victim of some bad planning during one of the production's many elaborate stunts. Hovering on a diving-board-like platform several feet high above the stage, Tierney, performing a stunt in the place of Reeve Carney's Spidey would take a nasty dive. (See the video below.) While hooked to wires, it seems that there was too much slack and the actor reportedly sustained broken ribs and internal bleeding. A plunge like that could easily have been fatal, so thankfully, the actor will live to tell the tale. However, for the Turn Off The Dark production itself, it means increased scrutiny from State Safety Inspectors and perhaps more confirmation of the criticism about the sustainability of the $65 million production. (The most expensive in Broadway history.) Will this drama bring down the Wall-Crawler's stint on the Great White Way? Or will the notoriety only pique the curiosity of the audience?
According to witnesses, the stunt, which featured Spider-Man leaping off the bridge to catch a plummeting Mary Jane, seemed at first to go according to plan. However, things were noticeably wrong when Tierney crashed into an open pit and screaming could be heard. The lights would then black-out and it was soon announced that the performance was stopped. However, still conscious, the actor was taken out on a stretcher and managed to acknowledge the concerned audience, to which he received applause.
Though it is uncertain how things will be rearranged behind the scenes, the show is scheduled to continue its matinees tomorrow. (*See update below.) However, according to a spokesperson from the New York Department of Labor, who did an initial inspection on the supposedly malfunctioning equipment this morning, a more extensive investigation will begin on the production in an attempt to determine what went wrong.
At this point, if you're like me, then you're probably sitting in your chair, scratching your head wondering "why the hell are they still performing?!!!" Well, according to a statement released today by the Actor's Equity Union and the production's stage managers:
"We were informed shortly after the accident during the performance of Spiderman. We are working in cooperation with the state and city Department of Labor on this situation. We don’t have a further statement at this time.”
However, they would amend that statement by saying: "Performances will not resume until back-up safety measures are in place.”
So, apparently, they plan to hammer out this whole nagging "safety" thing in time for tomorrow's performance. (*See update below.) So, if you happen to be one of the actors whose responsibility is to swan dive from near the height of the ceiling into the orchestra pit, you can rest assured that you will leave the performance with your head properly attached to your neck -- right? Well, personally, I'd more likely be brushing up on my Arthur Miller right about now.
What's your take on this incident? Would the legitimate danger of this show make you more inclined to give it a chance? Is it worth the safety of the actors?
Update: Shocker! Tomorrow's matinee has been postponed, however subsequent performances are still set...for now.
Source: New York Times