Jack White collapses on stage in contagious disease clinic stunt
Jack White collapsed on stage and was stretchered off during a secret show in a disused office block last night.
The American singer-songwriter, 38, fell to the floor in a fit of convulsions after playing a 30-minute set at the "Vescovo & Co Clinic for contagious diseases" – just hours after his headline set at the Hammersmith Apollo.
Fans need not worry, however – the gig and White's collapse were part of a stunt in collaboration with immersive theatre company Punchdrunk, who had turned the basement of a disused central London block into a fictitious medical facility.
A hundred fans who had successfully followed the clues of an online treasure hunt were invited to the tiny show, whereupon actors playing the roles of doctors, nurses and other hospital staff met them and forced them to change into blue medical gowns.
After an "outbreak alarm", fans were moved to a "quarantine chamber", where a screen dropped to reveal White and his band dressed in medical uniforms.
The secret show was designed by White and Punchdrunk to tie in with the former's new album, Lazaretto, which is a term used by maritime travellers for a quarantined ship, island or building.
A memo sent this morning to the gig's attendees said:
"Last night in Central London, a reported outbreak of a rare and, as yet unidentified, contagious disease took place at the Vescovo Clinic. Thanks to the swift and decisive actions of Vescovo & Co. medical staff, 100 patients underwent rigorous clinical analysis and the outbreak is said to have been contained. One patient, an unnamed man, was taken away for further testing and is said to be in a stable condition."
Since forming in 2001, British theatre company Punchdrunk have built a reputation as pioneers of immersive theatre, in which the audience becomes part of the performance. The company's show, The Drowned Man, is currently running in London.