Well the Missus and I trundled out to Watertown’s Arsenal Center for the Arts yesterday to catch the Flat Earth Theatre production of The Farnsworth Invention and say, it was swell.
From the website:
From screenwriter/playwright Aaron Sorkin, who brought us The West Wing and The Social Network, comes a whirlwind history of the controversial invention of the television. Philo Farnsworth, a child prodigy raised on a farm in rural Idaho, has overcome adversity to create a groundbreaking device never before achieved. Simultaneously, the self-made media mogul David Sarnoff has collected a team of geniuses to uncover Farnworth’s missing piece through any means necessary. The Farnsworth Invention moves fluidly from spell-binding to heart-breaking in this kinetic spectacle that confronts how history is remembered.
It’s a terrific – if factually challenged – production of the 2007 Aaron Sorkin play (and, yes, it’s predictably verbose and overlong). But it’s also appealing and moving – thanks to fine performances by Chris Larson as Farnsworth and Michael Fisher as Sarnoff.
The other cast members are adroit playing multiple roles, and director Sarah Gazdowicz reduces some highly technical material into intelligible theater.
Only bad news: The Missus tells me that the run, through June 27, is sold out.
But there are always cancellations to chase.
If you want to further understand TV and the people who made it happen as a technology and a business, check out “Tube: A History of Television” by David E. Fisher and Marshall Jon Fisher; it’s a clear, readable history of this invention, the people who made it happen, the internal corporate and technical battles, and the challenges that had to be overcome in both prototype and mass production. Farnsworth gets full credit (and did you know he was honored some years ago on a postage stamp, not that that is a big deal anymore!)
Thanks, Bill – just took it out of the library.
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