An audience member became ill at the Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles' performance of Henry IV on June 13

By Karen Mizoguchi
June 15, 2018 08:53 PM

Tom Hanks showed why he is one of the world’s best – and most loved actors – recently when a theatergoer had a medical emergency during his performance of Shakespeare’s Henry IV.

The 61-year-old actor, who portrays Sir John Falstaff, used his masterful improvisation skills to entertain a restless crowd at the Veterans Affairs’ West Los Angeles campus when an audience member became ill on Wednesday.

The show came to a halt for 15 minutes after the person passed out, according to the Orange County Register.

Hanks kept the rest of the audience focused on him to allow the show’s crew, who are made up of military veterans with medical training, and later the paramedics, to treat the audience member without interruption.

Tom Hanks
Craig Schwartz

In a video shared by the Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles, who put on the production, the two-time Oscar winner could be seen staying in character during the incident. He even brought up a woman named Frances to join him during his ad-libbing.

“No intermission brew for you!” Hanks said, also calling out “scurvy rogues” at those who attempted to leave their seats. “An insult to all actors and to Shakespeare himself,” he said as the fat knight Falstaff.

As for the stricken audience member, they regained consciousness and were later cleared and released from the hospital, the venue said in a social media statement.

Hanks stars in the play alongside his wife Rita Wilson. The married couple has worked with the Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles before and has participated in their Simply Shakespeare readings for 26 years.