Malibu Seen: The Play’s the Thing

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Malibu’s Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson do a renaissance reel at the Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles.

We all know that our own Tom Hanks is a man of many faces and limitless versatility from the FAO piano-playing kid in “BIG” to a besotted mermaid-loving lad in “Splash” to serious roles in “Philadelphia” and thrillers like “The Da Vinci Code.”

With talent this vast, it may come as no surprise that Tom is a huge fan of Shakespeare.

Every year he takes a turn at the Shakespeare Center.

This year is special indeed as Tom takes on the heavy lifting at Seen’s favorite production—“Henry IV.” The play is split into two parts “Henry IV Part One” and “Henry IV Part Two.” Tom will take on both parts as the carousing, cowardly Sir John Falstaff. To make the merry man, they fashioned him into something resembling an overstuffed pumpkin.

The production, which opened last week at an appropriate location—the Japanese Garden on the West Los Angeles VA campus—also features Shakespearean player Hamish Linklater as Prince Hal. 

The company does an excellent job with the gang surrounding a pleasure-seeking prince who parties all night long in rowdy taverns before the weight of the crown comes bearing upon him. 

As most of Shakespeare’s solo plays run approximately three hours or more, this version was condensed to a mere 3 hours and 15 minutes. One of the most outstanding scenes takes place at the Boar’s Head Tavern, where a craggy old flirt named Mistress Quickly raises the roof. She is played by Tony winner Rondi Reed.

The costumes are pure Shakespearean, created by Holly Poe Durbin.

Don’t miss some of the greatest characters in literature and revel in some of the best lines of all time. 

“What is honour? A word. What is in that word honour? What is that honour? Air. A trim reckoning! Who hath it? He that died o’ Wednesday. Doth he feel it? No. Doth he hear it? No.” And tally ho.

“Henry IV” runs at the Japanese Garden on the Los Angeles VA Campus through July 1. 

For more information contact shakespearecenter.org or 213.481.2273.