With now four injuries during the production of Broadway’s Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark, including one leading to the exit of star Natalie Mendoza and the biggest landing performer Chris Tierney in the hospital with severe injuries throughout his body, members of the theatre community are chiming in all around the country. Just recently, the President of the Actors Equity Association (the union for actors and stage managers) has issued a statement telling of his dismay of the accidents and issuing his thoughts and prayers to Tierney. He continues by also telling of his disappointment of the public’s focus on AEA’s lack of effort to prevent these incidents, when in actuality staff has poured through the script for moments of risk and endlessly worked with OSHA and Labor Unions to implement safety precautions.
“I understand the wish to point fingers, to find someone who is culpable. (It was a classic pastime in my family of origin whenever anything went wrong.) The more useful, productive exercise is to discover what we can do to improve things, to prevent a recurrence of this accident. This is what our staff has been doing. Our staff logs every accident that occurs during the course of a Broadway show. This enables AEA to discern any patterns in injuries: is it consistently the same track in the show? The same production number? The same special effect? The same location in a theater? The AEA staff uses this information to develop future contract proposals, but also to protect the current performers….
…Mistakes will happen: a slip, a stumble, a hesitation, a moment’s inattention. Our staff is committed to doing whatever it possibly can to protect our members and to minimize the danger and the risk. “Safe and sanitary” matters to them. YOU matter to them.
…As passionately as those of you feel who were savaging Equity for not stopping the show or at least stopping the injuries, that’s how passionately our staff feels about making sure our members are safe and supported and able to give the best of themselves onstage without fear. So yes, raise a cry about the need to protect our actors and prevent further injuries, but know that you are raising that cry alongside AEA and its hardworking staff.”
To read the full statement (which we encourage) head HERE.