THE LOOP — A fire-blowing stilt walker was hospitalized in critical condition after accidentally setting his face on fire during a performance in front of 1,000 people at the Civic Opera House Monday, officials said. While officials initially said the 24-year-old actor was in good condition, he later was rushed to Loyola in critical condition. The dress rehearsal production was in the final act of Richard Wagner’s “Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg,” a 5 1/2-hour opera.
“An actor sustained burns this afternoon at Lyric Opera of Chicago during a dress rehearsal,” the opera company said in a written statement. “The actor, Wesley Daniel, was performing a fire-spitting effect while on stilts. He was wearing a flameproof costume and mask.” While the statement didn’t explain what went wrong, Drew Landmesser, the Lyric’s deputy general director, said outside the Civic Opera House that Daniel was involved in a “performance on stilts in costume” when “fuel must have gotten on his face.” Chicago Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford said Daniel “ignited some alcohol” during a “fire-breathing routine.” Mia Rehwaldt, a fifth-grader who was one of eight child performers in the show, was startled when the man caught fire and fell. “It was pretty scary … [and] nerve-wracking,” she said after the show. “I don’t think people see a person’s head get covered in flames and fall down very often.”
Ummm, I’m pretty sure if I had to watch a FIVE AND A HALF HOUR Opera let alone be in it I would light my face on fire too. I’m actually shocked this didn’t happen earlier. I honestly can’t think of one thing that I would want to do for 5 1/2 hours without lighting myself on fire. Sex? Absolutely not. 5 1/2 minutes is more than enough. Drinking? Maybe if I was still 21. Watching Sports. Toss up, but 5 1/2 hours is a LONG time. Seriously, the only thing people do for that long of a time is work, and everyone on the planet hates work. So yeah, I’m sure it was an “accident”. I’m sure it wasn’t Wesley Daniel just saying, you know what, fuck Richard Wagner for making Die Meistersinger Von Nurnberg 4 hours too long, I’m fucking out of here. Honestly, 3rd degree burns to your face will eventually heal, watching a 5 1/2 hour opera stays with you forever.
Love interviewing a 5th grader about the time she saw a guy blow his face up. That was some solid journalism. And credit where credit is due. That fifth grader was fucking COMPOSED
“It was pretty scary … [and] nerve-wracking,” she said after the show. “I don’t think people see a person’s head get covered in flames and fall down very often.”
When I was in 5th grade I saw Roald Dahl’s Witches and didn’t sleep for 6 months straight. And here’s Mia Rehwaldt watching people burn their face off and giving interviews like she’s the president or something. That 11 year old girl has bigger balls than I do.