All great actors can improvise. So when an emergency medical situation befell an audience member during Tom Hanks’s performance of Shakespeare’s Henry IV on Wednesday night at the Japanese Garden on the West Los Angeles Veterans Administration campus, it was time for a little magic.
The two-time Oscar winner leaped into action, staying in character during the medical emergency, which resulted in an ambulance taking the stricken patron away.
“No intermission brew for you!” Hanks thundered, brandishing a sword while staying in character as Falstaff. The audience ate it up. Watch video of the ad-lib above.
The audience member fell unconscious and was sweating during the performance, resulting in the play being halted as crew members with medical training attempted to give first aid. Paramedics arrived and began testing the patient, resulting in a 20-minute delay and a restless audience.
That’s when Hanks decided to take matters into his own hands. He kept the audience entertained by addressing the crowd as though the play was still on, even dragging some audience members on stage.
Those who attempted to leave incurred his wrath, addressing the departing as the “scurvy rogues who stood up from their seats” and an “insult to all actors and to Shakespeare himself.”
Finally, the medical emergency was resolved, and the show went on, as it always does.
The play runs at 8 PM Tuesdays through Sundays through July 1.