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  The Farnsworth Invention at 1st Stage Theatre

The Farnsworth Invention

1st Stage Theatre
1524 Spring Hill Road McLean

In his return to playwriting, celebrated film and television writer Aaron Sorkin's signature style lends itself to the remarkable story of the invention that changed our lives. In 1929, two ambitious visionaries race against each other to invent a device called "television." Separated by two thousand miles, each knows that if he stops working, even for a moment, the other will gain the edge. Who will unlock the key to the greatest innovation of the 20th century: the ruthless media mogul, or the self-taught Idaho farm boy? The answer comes to compelling life in the regional premiere of this "firecracker of a play" (The Chicago Sun-Times).

Thru - Mar 11, 2018

Thursdays: 7:30pm
Fridays: 8:00pm
Saturdays: 2:00pm & 8:00pm
Sundays: 2:00pm

Box Office: 703-854-1856

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  The Farnsworth Invention Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Washington Post - Recommended

"...At 1st Stage, a more upbeat production also captures a contest between divergent visions of the future. “The Farnsworth Invention” recalls two of the figures who vied to invent television in the 1920s and ’30s: David Sarnoff, a media mogul, and Philo Farnsworth, an Idaho farm boy turned cash-strapped inventor. Playwright Aaron Sorkin (“The West Wing,” etc.) depicts the two as David-vs.-Goliath opponents who, in not-so-trustworthy fashion, narrate each other’s stories, which bristle with Sorkin-brand snappy dialogue."
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Celia Wren

BroadwayWorld - Recommended

"...The acting is uniformly strong, a hallmark of 1st Stage productions. Jonathan Lee Taylor serves as the initial narrator in his role as David Sarnoff, the tenacious RCA and NBC executive. With a no nonsense approach, Taylor effortlessly takes on the determined mogul's persona, reminding me of an edgy Henry Fonda. As the young science wiz Farnsworth, Sam Ludwig handles his role with equal skill, showing the awkward personality, sharp mind and his growing alcoholism with aplomb. As written by Sorkin, Sarnoff oversees the Farnsworth portions of the narrative, while Farnsworth narrators and counters with the scenes about Sarnoff's point of view. They serve as unreliable narrators - an old literary and theatrical convention - which adds a layer of tension and helps build the conflict - important for two men who never actually met."
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Jeffrey Walker

DCTheatreScene - Somewhat Recommended

"...But The Farnsworth Invention doesn't get much more dramatic than a reading of the words above. Sorkin has unheroically reduced history to a bloodless, scene-skipping reenactment mostly presented through direct-address narration. The play never takes flight, nor plumbs any depths nor even moves beyond choppy, overheated exposition."
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Roy Maurer

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