Monday, March 19, 2007

Sorkin's Farnsworth Invention

Went down to the La Jolla Playhouse this weekend to see THE FARNSWORTH INVENTION by Aaron Sorkin.

While the play's style with its heavy narrative spine isn't my cup of tea, Sorkin isn't exactly slumming it either. He started in theatre with A FEW GOOD MEN for which he was given a TONY.

The play's plot is all about the invention of television.

The theme is all about What's better for humankind, sharing information or owning and exploiting it? Interestingly the character with the most narrative responsibilities, William Sarnoff, played terrifically by Stephen Lang, is also the villain. He tries to have it both ways - make TV a personal trust and make money off it. You can guess which wins.

Philo Farnsworth (a great Jimmi Simpson) is much more noble. But he's also destroyed before he can show us whether or not he has a greedy side.

Advertising and commercialism both take pretty big hits, which seems disingenuous since commericial television has made Sorkin rich, but the subjects were clearly an interesting and important part of figuring out how television was going to work.

Sorkin is very erudite and witty. And he's able to keep the material light and thoughtful through-out - which you'd expect.

My guess is New York will be able to weigh in on this one shortly.

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