A New Zealand high school’s production of Sweeney Todd went wrong (or, from another angle, completely right) when two students suffered real neck cuts from a prop razor during their opening night performance.
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, as any person of taste knows, is a Stephen Sondheim musical about a vengeful barber who begins slitting the throats of his customers and—with the help of the smitten baker downstairs—baking them into pies to serve to the local gentry. It’s a bit of an odd choice for a high school musical (what with its endless depictions of rape, murder, and pussy flashing), but if these kids think they can handle the challenging content and even-more challenging score, all the more power to them! But don’t be surprised when life starts to imitate life!
The two students, both 16-year-old boys at Saint Kentigern College, were taken to the hospital where, as of Thursday, they were still recovering. Steve Cole, head of the college, says that the razor prop (actually duct tape and silver paper) was used several times during rehearsal without incident.
“These particular scenes had been rehearsed, full dress rehearsal six, seven, eight times and this particular scene, many many times since the start of rehearsals,” he told Newstalk ZB, adding that the school is “very focused on helping other cast and crew members, along with the wider school community and have offered all students counseling.”
While seeing your classmates’ throats cut is undoubtedly traumatic, these students should take heed and realize that they’ve just witnessed a more authentic performance of the “Johanna” reprise than most of us will see in a lifetime.
Performances are set to resume Friday. I mean, canceling the show entirely seems an awful waste...
Image via the Warner Bros. film adaptation of Sweeney Todd, which is complete shit, btw.