Actor playing Judas accidentally hangs himself

Italian man dies onstage during an Easter reenactment.

Published May 8, 2000 4:00PM (EDT)

Irony doesn't always make you laugh. On April 22, the day before Easter, a 23-year-old Italian man died during a reenactment of "Via Crucis," or "Way of the Cross," a traditional Easter play.

According to the Associated Press, Renato Di Paolo was playing the part of Judas Iscariot, the apostle who betrayed Jesus Christ and then killed himself in remorse. The play, which took place in the tiny village of Camerata Nuova, 45 miles from Rome, required Di Paolo to be tied to a tree by a noose. According to a Reuters report, the young actor had played the part safely the previous evening, but this time when he jumped off a rock about a foot off the ground, the noose tightened around his neck and asphyxiated him.

Incredibly, no one noticed. The play continued until an actor saw that Di Paolo was lying rather stiffly and realized he was unconscious. The young man was promptly rushed to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The entire event was captured on video by an amateur cameraman, who recorded the stunned screams of the actors and audience, which included Di Paolo's parents.

The video was given to Italy's RAI TV and was broadcast the next day, on Easter Sunday.

By J.A. Getzlaff

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