Drama onstage and off at the ADC as audience members faint

Jack Ranson 17 May 2014

Last night’s performance of Her Naked Skin was halted for five minutes as an audience member fainted whilst making her way out and several others reported vomiting and fainting in seats.

The reaction came about just after a realistic depiction of one character cutting their wrists and being force-fed during a torture scene.

Director Rose Reade spoke exclusively to The Cambridge Student: Her Naked Skin is an extremely harrowing and shocking play which has caused some extreme audience reaction every night; on our first night a woman walked out because it was too much, I have seen people literally cower in their seats, and I’ve heard rumours that people have vomited”.

She went on, "the play doesn’t shock just to be scandalous or provocative, I think the reason people found it so affecting is that they have followed the emotional journey of the character and when she pulls out a knife/ is subjected to force-feeding, it is a surprise and a shock. People are so engrossed in the show that they forget to breathe or the blood makes them feel dizzy".

The play had to be halted last night for five minutes whilst the as yet unidentified lady was attended to and then escorted out of the auditorium, but Reade commended the actors for how they dealt with such an extraordinary situation.      

Bea Svistunenko was onstage at the time of the incident. She told TCS that she “broke character briefly…to see what was happening” before resuming and then eventually stopping when the Stage Manager halted the performance.

“The audience applauded in support as we continued”, went on Bea. “It wasn’t until after the show that we discovered that there was a second audience member who fainted in their seat”.

Titus Andronicus, currently running at The Globe, has been notorious for its fainting and nauseous audience members. Rose embraced this in relation to Her Naked Skin: “I think theatre should be affecting. I am almost flattered by the fact that people have such violent and physical reactions to the play.”

Despite the drama, both audience members have been reported as “well” and the show will go on as normal this evening.