Tom Hanks ad libbed to entertain the audience during a medical emergency


Tom Hanks is currently appearing on stage as Falstaff in Henry IV for the Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles. I’ve been seeing adverts for this and I was really quite skeptical of Hanks as Falstaff. Falstaff is one of my favorite Shakespearean characters so I guess I was a little protective. I was wrong. Not only did Hanks perform three seasons in the Great Lakes Shakespeare Festival, he is getting good reviews in his current role, which thrills me because I’m a fan. The photos I’ve seen of him in costume look a little silly but they say he utterly embodies the character.

Hanks stood out last Wednesday due to his improvisational skills. During the performance, one of the audience members fainted. Fortunately the crew has medical training. While the staff attended to the victim, Hanks rushed back on stage in character and ad-libbed, engaging and entertaining the audience.

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 interruptio

“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.

[From People]

I’ve had to improvise on stage when I or another actor forgot lines. Those moments can occasionally be the best part of the production. Hanks was not only entertaining, he was clever. He distracted the audience and allowed the patient their dignity. I was overtired when I first saw the clip below, so I didn’t like that he broke the fourth wall and used anachronistic references. However I was quickly won over and found the whole thing charming, which is the power of Hanks, I suppose. The show runs until July 1.

The ailing audience member is said to have recovered. As an added bonus, they will have the best story at any cocktail party.




Photo credit: WENN Photos and YouTube

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16 Responses to “Tom Hanks ad libbed to entertain the audience during a medical emergency”

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  1. kNY says:

    I know there’s that Tom Hanks 2020 stuff going around, but I think that Tom Hanks should be a newsman. I could see him gently chastising politicians, calling out lies, getting people to admit to stuff…because he is Tom Hanks and we all love Tom Hanks.

  2. Jane says:

    And this,people, is the reason he has 83 acting awards including 2 Oscars. The man is brilliant.

  3. RspbryChelly says:

    I want a Tom Hanks of my own. My own personal life sized duplicate, please! Someone call Babs people & have whoever cloned her dogs clone me a real life Tom, thanks. And yes, I accept USPS

  4. Sparkly says:

    This was fun. I’m glad Tom Hanks still seems to be a stand-up guy.

  5. Snowflake says:

    I loved that movie Turner and Hooch. Plus a lot of others but that was my favorite. I hope nothing bad ever comes out about him, it would ruin my idea of him being a nice guy

  6. boredblond says:

    I give him credit for doing the play..most ‘stars’ don’t do editing, no second takes, no star treatment..

  7. Astrid says:

    I don’t know how he does it, day in and day out, being a great human.

  8. Mego says:

    Always loved Tom Hanks who seems to be genuinely kind as well as talented. A nice story.

  9. T.Fanty says:

    How is Tom Hanks 61?!?!

    I would watch his Falstaff.

  10. Lala says:

    I’ve always said that anyone who has great comedic talent…is a great actor period! I remember when I saw him in the movie “Punchline” in 1988…which is a magnificent movie showcasing what comics go through trying to hit the big time…and Tom’s character had a darkness that was NEVER presented in any of his other roles…and he was magnificent! And he and Sally had SO MUCH CHEMISTRY in that movie…I was so glad to seem them work together again in “Forest Gump”…and hope they do it again…SOON!

  11. manda says:

    As soon as I started reading this, I was piping up in my head, Tom Hanks got his start doing shakrespeare, I think! Around the cleveland area!! (WOO, I’m a clevelander, I remember seeing an article about his cleveland connections years ago and being, like, yeah cleveland! paul newman is also from cleveland!) But then, yeah, you mentioned that. :)

  12. FHMom says:

    That is why people love him so much. He is the modern day Jimmy Stewart.

  13. Veronica S. says:

    Huh, I forgot Rita Wilson was the same age as him. What a refreshing shift from the typical cradle robbing you see from Hollywood men of his age.

    Honestly, if he’s good theatre reviews, that’s impressive. Stage acting is an entirely different animal than film, takes a lot more energy and focus over a much longer period of time. My mother and I saw Hamlet a few weeks ago, and it was remarkable to realize just how much intensity those roles require.

  14. Ophelia says:

    As an aside: Looking forward to have a tearduct transplant surgery when that film where he plays Mr Rogers finally got aired. I’ll need some new ones.

  15. K says:

    Oh, I just love him.