Kate Connolly in Berlin
Guardian.co.uk, Monday 15 December 2008
A Hamburg theatre has denied reports that an actor suffered a life-threatening cut to his throat after a prop knife was reportedly replaced by one with a real blade.
Daniel Hoevels, 30, was said to have had blood “pouring from his neck” after he stabbed himself with the knife in a suicide scene.
The Thalia theatre company issued a strong denial in response to reports by the Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail, Guardian and Sky TV that police were investigating a possible murder plot against the actor, who was playing the role of Mortimer in Friedrich Schiller’s Mary Stuart at Vienna’s Burgtheater.
The company admitted that a female prop manager had bought a knife for use on stage and forgotten to blunt it. The case was reported to police as a matter of course. Hoevels said he would not press charges.
“During a guest performance of Maria Stuart there was an accident,” the Thalia theatre said in a statement referring to the incident on 6 December.
“Daniel Hoevels suffered a cut to his neck, but there was no serious injury.”
On the advice of a doctor Hoevels went to hospital, received two stitches and was released immediately, then went to a party, the statement said.
According to the theatre’s managing director, who was present at the time, Hoevels completed the scene as he always had done using fake blood. He reappeared on stage the following night wearing a plaster, and not, as reported, a bandage around his neck.
A spokeswoman for the Burgtheater in Vienna said the reports had been exaggerated, including untrue accounts that the audience applauded when Hoevels accidentally cut his neck.
The police denied reports that an investigation had been launched or that DNA tests of backstage crew and cast members had been carried out.
A picture used to apparently illustrate the incident, of Hoevels clutching his bloodied neck, was said by the theatre to be two years old and not of the apparent accident with the knife.
Hoevels is now playing in Ulrich Plenzdorf’s The New Sorrows of Young Werther.
The union reaches agreement with theater owners and producers after a 12-hour session.
NEW YORK — A crippling strike that had shut down most Broadway shows
in the heart of the holiday season ended late Wednesday night as
striking stagehands finally hammered out a new contract with theater
owners and producers.
The strike, which had entered its 19th day and drained millions of
dollars in revenue from the theater district, was settled after a
12-hour bargaining session that had begun Wednesday morning between the
League of American Theaters and Producers and members of Local 1,
representing about 3,000 stagehands.
“We are pleased to announce that we have a tentative agreement
with Local 1 ending the Broadway strike,” said Charlotte St. Martin,
the league’s executive director. “The agreement is a good compromise
that serves our industry. The most important thing is that Broadway’s
lights will once again be shining.”
St. Martin, who emerged to cheers from the Midtown law offices where
negotiations had been held since Monday, announced that the 26 Broadway
shows temporarily shuttered by the strike would resume performances
today. Plans have yet to be announced, however, for new shows whose
openings were delayed, including “The Little Mermaid” and “The
As he left the final bargaining session, Local 1 President James
Claffey held up one finger signaling victory, and stagehands gathered
outside broke into cheers. “Brothers and sisters of Local 1, you
represent yourselves, and your families and your union proud,” he said.
“That’s enough said, right there.”
Few observers expected the strike to last as long as it did, recalling
that Broadway’s last strike, a 2003 work stoppage by musicians, was
settled in four days. But both sides dug in their heels, even as the
strike all but wiped out the lucrative Thanksgiving holiday week, which
has traditionally been Broadway’s second most profitable week of the
Nine shows were able to remain open during the strike, because they had
signed separate labor agreements with Local 1. But most other Broadway
productions, plus restaurants, tourist shops, parking garages and other
businesses in the theater district, took a major economic hit.
Prominent local restaurants, such as Sardi’s, said their business had
fallen off 30% to 35%. New York officials estimated the strike was
costing the city $2 million a day.
It was not clear how the work stoppage would affect shows that had been
struggling at the box office. But several productions that had been
thriving announced plans to lure customers back immediately: Producers
for “Chicago” announced they would offer all remaining tickets to
tonight’s performance for $26.50. Tickets for the show typically cost
as much as $111.50.
“We’re so happy that this is over,” said Bruce Cohen, a spokesman for
the union. “Now everyone should go back to work — and everyone should
go see a Broadway show.”
None of the principals would comment on the terms of tentative
settlement, which must be ratified by the local union, a branch of the
International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, within 10 days.
The key sticking points had focused on the number of stagehands
required to work on Broadway shows.
From the beginning, the league had argued that the previous
contract, which expired July 31, had required it to hire too many
employees, an arrangement that some likened to featherbedding.
But Local 1 members contended that the league’s proposed cutbacks threatened workplace safety and jeopardized hard-won jobs.
In recent days, sources close to the negotiations said both sides had
found common ground on the most contentious issue, involving the
“load-in” period, when stagehands install a new show in a theater. One
by one, the talks resolved other issues, including the question of
“continuity pay,” for those periods when stagehands work before and
after their scheduled work shifts, as well as the amount of a wage
increase being sought by the union.
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, whose offer to help mediate the strike was
twice declined by Local 1, hailed the settlement as “great news,”
expressing the hope that the industry would recover in time for the
John Connelly, president of the local Actor’s Equity, told reporters
that news of the settlement was announced during the curtain calls for
Wednesday night’s performance of “Young Frankenstein.”
The audience broke into enthusiastic applause, he said, adding: “I know
that I speak for everyone when I say, I couldn’t be happier.”
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