The Farnsworth Invention

Aaron Sorkin

June 12th - 27th, 2015
The Arsenal Center for the Arts
  • Advance: $20
  • Door: $25
  • Student Rush: $10


  • Advance: $20
  • Door: $25
  • Student Rush: $10

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.

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Watertown Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Mass Cultural Council, a state agency.


When & Where

June 2015
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat

The Arsenal Center for the Arts

321 Arsenal Street
Watertown, MA



Media & Links

  • Media Release (179kB)
  • Program (1918kB)
  • Cast Announcement Meet the cast of The Farnsworth Invention
  • Farnsworth vs. Sarnoff, Fact vs. Fiction Dramaturg David N. Rogers navigates the history and the fabrications in The Farnsworth Invention
  • Review: EDGE, Boston "Flat Earth Theatre has outdone itself with this production, which is as memorable and affecting as it is smart." -Kilian Melloy
  • Review: MyTheatre "Directed by Sarah Gazdowicz, the show is zippy, fluid, and strong, preserving the immediacy and power of live theatre while managing to convey film-like dynamism and rapid-clip scene shifts." -Fabiana Cabral
  • Review: Boston Arts Review "You can’t take your eyes off Michael Fisher as the ruthless David Sarnoff, the founder of NBC and you can’t stop your heart from breaking when you know the much nicer Farnsworth (Chris Larson) will be run over by Sarnoff’s machinations." -Beverly Creasey
  • Review: New England Theatre Geek "The cast delivers a fact-paced, well-knit, cosy production with lots of laughs and appropriate number of frowns. Their performances came from a place of joy." -Kitty Drexel
  • Review: On Boston Stages "Director Sarah Gadzowicz and her cast wring all the suspense and pathos out of Sorkin’s piece and the timing is en pointe, as the action shifts back and forth between Farnsworth’s struggles in California and Sarnoff’s machinations in New York." -Rich Fahey
  • Review: Boston Theatre Wings "Flat Earth Theatre – continuing its “Progress and Peril Series” – turns the rivalry between Sarnoff and Farnsworth into a thrilling and very compelling cautionary tale about the potential manipulation of science and knowledge." -Jules Becker
  • Review: Boston Arts Diary "This production is so well directed that it takes the Arsenal Black Box by storm, fills out its space and keeps it charged for the two hours of its duration." -Charlie Munitz
  • Review: Theatre Mirror "Director Sarah Gazdowicz helms a dedicated ensemble cast, led by outstanding stars Chris Larson portraying humble farm boy-brilliant science prodigy Farnsworth and Michael Fisher as slick entrepreneur Sarnoff." -Sheila Barth
  • ARTery's Best Local Theatre of 2015 "Sarah Gazdowicz directed a stellar cast, with Chris Larson and Michael Fisher playing two core characters, each of them brilliant in his own specific way. Scenic designer Rebecca Lehrhoff’s work was almost a character in itself." -Kilian Melloy
  • 2015 MyTheatre Awards Nominees • Nomination for Best Dramaturgical Notes: David N. Rogers
    • Nomination for Best Sound Design: Kyle Serino
    • Nomination for Best Actor: Chris Larson
    • Nomination for Best Production: The Farnsworth Invention
  • Edge's Best in Boston Theatre 2015 "...the way Flat Earth Theatre presented the play -- with inventive design work by Rebecca Lehrhoff, actors Chris Larson and Michael Fisher in two central roles, and Sarah Gazdowicz directing -- ensured that Sorkin's work would be enhanced every step of the way." -Kilian Melloy
  • Boston Theatre Wings - Best of 2015 "Director Sarah Gazdowicz sharply caught the suspense and the scientific clarity of this look at the beginnings of television." -Jules Becker
  • 20th Annual IRNE Nominations • Nomination for Best Ensemble: The Farnsworth Invention
    • Nomination for Best Actor (Fringe): Michael Fisher
    • Nomination for Best Director (Fringe): Sarah Gazdowicz
    • Nomination for Best Play (Fringe): The Farnsworth Invention
  • MyTheatre Awards Nominee Interview Series: Chris Larson "Farnsworth was magical. I know actors often talk about shows like that, but everything really just came together for this one. It was an awesome team of people filled with friends old and new, and I can’t remember a green room as warm as this one."
  • MyTheatre Awards Nominee Interview Series: David N. Rogers "Farnsworth was a lot of fun to dig into, because Sorkin has such an interesting relationship to the historical material. ... One big project I had during Farnsworth was just figuring out the actual historical narrative of events that are compressed, altered, and sometimes invented or even inverted in the script."
  • 20th Annual IRNE Award Winners • Winner for Best Ensemble: Small: The Farnsworth Invention
    • Winner for Best Actor: Play: Fringe: Michael Fisher
    • Winner for Best Director: Play: Fringe: Sarah Gazdowicz
    • Winner for Best Play: Fringe:The Farnsworth Invention