Top ten theatre death scenes

They’re dropping like flies on Sydney stages this year. Here’s Time Out's list of 2011’s finest onstage death scenes

1 Lennie in Of Mice and Men
Performer: Anthony Dean Griffey
Cause of death: Bullet to the head

2 Tom in The Kiss
Performer: Yalin Ozucelik
Cause of death: Drowning

3 Baal in Baal
Performer: Thomas M Wright
Cause of death: Organ failure; over-exposure to lukewarm critical reception

4 Albert & Karl in Capture the Flag
Performer: Robin Goldsworthy / Tom Stokes
Cause of death: Self-administered cyanide poisoning / bled and froze to death

5 Uncle Gary in The Business
Performer: Russel Kiefel
Cause of death: Heart failure

6 Cio-Cio San aka Madame Butterfly in Australian Ballet’s Madame Butterfly
Performer: Rachel Rawlins
Cause of death: Harakiri; broken heart (mostly the harakiri though)

7 Edward Gant in Edward Gant’s Amazing Feats of Loneliness
Performer: Paul Bishop
Cause of death: Intracranial haemorrhage caused by unstoppering cork from skull; possible anaphylactic reaction to Romance Was Born costumes

8 Alvin Sputnik in The Adventures of Alvin Sputnik: Deep-Sea Explorer
Played by: Tim Watts’s right hand
Cause of death: Oxygen deprivation

9 Ronald Kentley in Rope
Performer: Gig Clarke (uncredited role)
Cause of death: Post-erotic asphyxiation

10 Mimi in La Bohème
Performer: Takesha Meshé Kizart
Suspected cause of death: Tuberculosis; suspected exposure to RENT soundtrack

Honourable mentions: Unnamed victim in Cut (burnt alive by Anita Hegh); various characters in STC Ed’s Hamlet and the Bell Players’ Romeo and Juliet; and the audience of The Giacomo Variations who were on the point of dying of boredom.

What are your favourite or most memorable onstage death scenes? Let us know in the comments.

How do actors die convincingly onstage? What do they think about when they're lying there? And what if the audience laughs? Read up on the art of dying in our full-length feature on theatrical death scenes.

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First published on 26 Jul 2011. Updated on 28 Jul 2011.

By Darryn King   |  
 

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