Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Another Spider-Man actor injured

The actor fell "about 30 feet," Julie (and this time there's video, above). He broke several ribs. The show has temporarily closed, but is supposed to re-open with additional safety measures in place on Wednesday. OSHA is reportedly investigating. Why not close it down permanently?


  1. What corners are Taymor and crew (and by extension, Marvel and Disney) cutting that this show has become such a threat to the general safety of the actors?

    Cirque Du Soleil seems capable of training and rehearsing their people in order avert these sorts of disasters.

    Soon it will be bad luck to say "Spider-Man" in a theatre.

  2. I understand the rigging is an innovative four-cable system, hung from disparate points in the theatre, designed to enable Spider-Man to swing in multiple directions over the audience. Apparently this level of complication just isn't reliable. Taymor and Co. are lucky no one has landed on an audience member yet - although I think THAT, finally, would end this whole debacle; apparently actors are expendable.

  3. I had seen footage of the four-cable system being demonstrated in rehearsals-- but what seemed to go wrong in this instance was a far less innovative one=cable rigging.

    As much as I enjoy Julie Taymor (and Spider-Man: I grew up with the character), I find this disregard for actor safety utterly offensive. Both the actors who must use the rigging and the techies who have to maintain the equipment are clearly not receiving the proper safety training.

    There's so much money involved here that the backers apparently felt they needed to cut corners on one thing with which it is unconscionable to cut corners.

    If this show can't be performed without actors or crew regularly leaving in an ambulance, it needs to be shut down. If the story really is dying to be told and the music must be heard it can be done with animation: that can be done without maiming voice actors.

  4. I have very good memories of Taymor's early King Stag which was magical in its simplicity. Then I saw (notice I don't say 'heard') Magic Flute at the MET which I thought was overblown and confused - there were many times when I couldn't find the singers because there was so much nonsense going on. Spider Man sounds like a nightmare for all involved. Perhaps she does best with if she has a spending cap...

  5. My guess is that there was a spending cap-- and that's why actors are getting injured.

  6. Around the dinner table last night, a friend of mine who is very connected to the New York puppetry scene and so has a lot of inside gossip about Taymor attributes part of this to Taymor's tendency to hire actors who are not experts with the necessary skills. So for Lion King she hired puppeteers to design and build puppets and then handed them off to actors who've never done puppetry before-- likewise she hired acrobats to design the stunts but not hire them to perform the stunts-- preferring a cast of actors who've never done stunt work before this show (and in this case, this has had disastrous results.)