ROME (AP) _ A 23-year-old man hanged himself during a religious play in a small town while portraying Judas Iscariot, the apostle who betrayed Jesus and then committed suicide in remorse, a television station reported.

Regional RAI TV on Sunday broadcast a video by an amateur who was watching the outdoor drama Saturday in Camerata Nuova, a hamlet of 200 people 45 miles from Rome.

The video and audio of the performance depicting events leading up to Jesus' crucifixion captured the screams of fellow actors and the audience when they realized that Renato Di Paolo wasn't acting but was unconscious after the noose, lashed to a tree branch, pulled tightly around his neck.

Di Paolo was rushed to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead, the station said.

RAI said the man might have lost his footing on a rock upon which he was standing.