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“How big is your chance of dying in an ordinary play?”

At first glance, that’s what I thought Tyler Cowen was asking.

I assumed he was asking about the characters, not the audience, as watching a play seems like a pretty safe activity (A. Lincoln excepted). Characters in plays die all the time. I wonder what the chance is? Something between 5% and 10%, I’d guess.

I’d guess your chance of dying (as a character) in a movie would be higher. On the other hand, movies have lots of extras who just show up and leave; if you count them maybe the risk isn’t so high. Perhaps the right way to do this is to weight people by screen time?

P.S. The Mezzanine aside, works of art and literature tend to focus on the dramatic moments of lives, so it makes sense that death will be overrepresented.


  1. Johannes says:

    Extras die very often in battle scenes, or in disaster movies; so what is the probability that you are in a disaster or battle scene, conditional on having been cast as an extra?

  2. Jonathan (another one) says:

    A Mezzanine reference! Andrew, you da man. But does anything hapoen in Room Temperature?

  3. Andrew says:

    Wherever there is a baby, there is something happening.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Why isn’t this tagged under Zombies?

  5. albatross says:

    How many micromorts’ increase is a gun hanging on the wall in the first act worth?

  6. zbicyclist says:

    Depends. Is the character wearing a red shirt?