An Italian actor has been left in a coma after accidentally hanging himself on stage in front of theatergoers.

Raphael Schumacher, 27, was performing a lynching act Monday during a performance of the drama “Mirages” at the Teatro Lux in Pisa, Italy when an audience member noticed he was actually being strangled, The Sun newspaper reported.

The play “Mirages” is a six-scene performance staged in different parts of the theatre, with the audience walking between them.

The scene – which The Sun reported as successfully performed earlier the same evening - took place in the theatre’s courtyard, where a rope had been suspended from a fig tree.

An audience member - a medical graduate - realized something was wrong when Schumacher, who was wearing a mask, started trembling, according to The Sun.

“The noose should have been fake and a harness should have caught him if he fell. I cannot explain how an incident like this happened,” an actor involved with the play told the Independent.

Police have closed down the theater following the near-fatal incident, and are interviewing the cast and audience members to see if there was anything suspicious about the hanging.

In an interview with the Independent, Schumacher’s family rejected the idea that he would take his own life, even though the actor had fallen on hard times.

“My son recently lost his father and had ended a relationship but had found his serenity again. He didn’t leave a suicide note and had no reason to kill himself,” Schumacher’s mother told the newspaper.

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