Play-goers began to get restless Wednesday after someone fainted in the audience, delaying the start of “Henry IV” at the Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles.
That’s when actor Tom Hanks stormed the stage as the rogue knight Sir John Falstaff to distract them as the theater crew and paramedics tended to the man, who had collapsed from dehydration, reported The Orange County Register.
“Get back here or find this sword and many a dagger placed neatly in the tires of your carriage,” Hanks, who plays Falstaff in the production, ad libs at laughing play-goers in a video released by the theater. “No one is to leave!”
In full character as Falstaff, he denounces “scurvy rogues” who had stood up to leave, whom he said had given “insult to all actors and to Shakespeare himself.”
Hanks also accuses an audience member in an orange frock of stealing his costume and offers haircuts on stage with his sword.
“No intermission brew for you,” he warns play-goers.
In all, Hanks entertained the audience with his impromptu performance for about five minutes before the play could begin, dialogue coach Heath Harper told Variety.
“All in all, I think it was a fantastic true-to-Shakespearean moment in LA,” Harper told the publication. “The crowd definitely got their money’s worth.”
After being checked by paramedics, the dehydrated audience member was driven home by friends, reported the Register.