Rishi Razdan (MBA ’24) said the ‘show must go on’ as he performed through hours of excruciating pain.
Trying to emulate the inimitable Matt Weinzierl can be a burden for many, but for Rishi Razdan (MBA ’24), the job proved almost lethal. Razdan starred in the HBS show as the beloved MBA chair, a character whose real-life counterpart, Weinzierl himself, also made a cameo in the three-day presentation. However, during the third and final performance, Razdan experienced a slipped disk in the first 20 minutes of the show, which left him in debilitating pain for the rest of it.
For those who may not know, a slipped disk occurs when one of the disks that cushion the vertebrae in the spine ruptures or herniates, causing pain, numbness, weakness, and other unpleasant symptoms. For Razdan, it was a painful reminder of a previous injury he sustained in 2022, mere months before his wedding. Choosing to forego surgery in favor of marital bliss, he relied on bed rest and physiotherapy to recover. However, his back never fully healed.
An ill-timed jump during scene three led to a muscle spasm that reactivated his injury. Despite the pain, Razdan channeled his energy and pushed through the performance, drawing on his acting skills to deliver a believable performance. The pain you saw in scene six? It was real.
Of course, as soon as the final curtain fell, it was off to the ER for some much-needed medical attention. We can only hope that Razdan received some good painkillers or at least some ice packs to help ease his aching back.
While it is impressive that Razdan was able to power through such intense pain to finish the show, it is important to remember that performers experience immense pressure to deliver a flawless performance. Razdan shared that the fear of letting down his castmates, crew, and audience was overwhelming and made him continue despite the pain.
In the end, Razdan’s slipped disk is just another reminder that performers truly are willing to suffer for their art. Whether it is a broken leg, a sore throat, or a slipped disk, they’ll keep on trucking through the show, pushing through the pain to deliver the best performance they can. And who knows, maybe they’ll even get a few extra sympathy-laughs from the audience along the way!
Pallavi Chadha (MBA ’24) comes to HBS having spent the past few years understanding the Indian startup ecosystem as a consumer VC investor. What she enjoyed most about that life was getting to know people and truly listening and understanding the stories behind their journeys.