“The Farnsworth Invention proves that it takes time and perseverance for miracles to happen.” – Sophomore Katharine Moser, Pem Farnsworth
HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, KY – Northern Kentucky University’s Department of Theatre and Dance presents THE FARNSWORTH INVENTION, directed by Michael Hatton and written by Academy Award winning writer, Aaron Sorkin. The production runs from February 16th through February26th in the Fine Arts Building’s Corbett Theatre.
THE FARNSWORTH INVENTION tells the story of Philo Farnsworth, a boy genius from Rigby, Idaho who, at age 22, invented television only to become involved in an all-or-nothing legal battle with David Sarnoff, the young president of RCA and America‘s first communications mogul who claims electronic television falls under the generic claims of an earlier patent which RCA owns.
In this classic tale of little guy versus the corporate machine, Farnsworth not only fights for his rights but for his slice of the American Dream. “The interactions between the two men intrigue you about their stories and provide an interesting insight into their lives,” says sophomore Matthew Krieg, David Sarnoff. We, as Americans, love a good David and Goliath story where the underdog is up against a huge opponent and playwright Aaron Sorkin truly delivers a fascinating version of this classic scenario. “The play is very timely; In the news we hear of class warfare, rich versus poor… and with the idea that ‘corporations are people too’ we wonder how much influence these companies truly have over the political and judicial systems in order to get what they want,” Hatton says, “What does it mean for American society when such an imbalance occurs? How can anyone overcome such a towering monolith? It’s a very interesting dynamic that we explore in the play.”
Bringing a twist to the “historic” play, Aaron Sorkin, writer of The Social Network, Moneyball, Charlie Wilson’s War, The West Wing, and A Few Good Men, doesn’t necessarily stay true to the historical facts and uses artistic license to punch up certain dramatic moments. For example, Sorkin portrays Farnsworth as an alcoholic, an interesting choice as there are conflicting historical reports as to the extent of his alcohol use. Farnsworth was Mormon and so we don’t often get to talk about associating those two dynamics. The fact that those issues are brought together adds to the dramatic tension of the play. The story itself is told from the somewhat cloudy memories of both Farnsworth and Sarnoff who both act as omniscient narrators. Sorkin plays up the idea that through the haze of time memories change and often become completely different in our minds than what actually happened.
With the belief that radio and television would have enormous power and influence in the world, both men spoke often on how important these mediums would be and how they could potentiallyend illiteracy, stop war, and make the world a better place. Both Farnsworth and Sarnoff believed in the potential of this incredible technology. They would become enemies, however, because Sarnoff wanted to control how it was utilized. THE FARNSWORTH INVENTION is an exhilarating experience and one that leaves you in a rich mood. Backed by an incredibly talented cast with freshman Wes Carman as Philo Farnsworth, come and see these two intellectually stimulating men battle and witness history come to life before your very eyes.
THE FARNSWORTH INVENTION runs Feb 16-Feb 26 in NKU’s Corbett Theatre.
- 8pm Tuesday-Saturday
- 3pm Sunday
- There are NO Monday performances
Single ticket prices are as follows: Adult $14, Faculty/Staff/Alumni $13, Senior Citizen $11, Students (with valid ID from any school) $8.
*We also provide a group rate to parties of 10 or more at $10 per ticket.
To get more information and to buy tickets call the NKU Theatre & Dance Dept.’s Box Office @ 859.572.5464 OR online at http://theatre.nku.edu/boxoffice.
Box Office hours are Monday through Friday, 12-5pm.