December 04, 2007

The Farnsworth Invention - Opening Night

I was very lucky to be assigned work at the opening night of The Farnsworth Invention. I love working opening nights, for obvious reasons. Openings are great for spotting and speaking with celebrities. Last night, I saw Oliver Platt, Bob Sagett, and Richard Kind. Caroline McCormick, who plays Dr. Olivet on Law & Order, is absolutely stunning in person. There were a lot of celebrities there but the above are the only ones I saw.

Of course, I saw Aaron Sorkin and of course it ended up being awkward and weird for me. He is very, very nice but I ended up in a misunderstanding with him regarding his marital status and an I.D. for his father's headset. He's not married to the assistant that I mistook for his wife. And even though, he was willing to give me his personal license for his father's headset, his assistant who is not his wife provided one instead.

This all happened two minutes before curtain went up. I'm still kicking myself for calling out to Mister Sorkin to get an I.D. from him at all. I'm embarrassed to have bugged him that close to curtain time. But mostly I'm just glad he's a nice guy. With another big shot it could have gone the way that didn't end in smiles.

One patron that I was particularly happy to help was Peter Shaffer, playwright of Amadeus and Equus. I was so excited when he I saw his I.D., I giggled like a little kid. He's unbelievably nice. And I had a nice conversation with him when he returned his headset after the show. We both liked the play and we both appreciated the sound design of the show, which is very good in case you were wondering.

The other reason opening nights are exciting is the general atmostphere. It's always charged with optimism and fear. Everyone involved with the show was looking forward to the opening night party and from the porter to the house manager people were dressed in black tie, ready to impress.

The play was GREAT last night. Everybody's timing was spot on. Jimmi Simpson's portrayal of Farnsworth was so touching last night, that he moved me to tears. He was already good when I first saw the show in previews a month ago, but he's gotten SO MUCH better. Hank Azaria is on fire as Sarnoff. And the supporting cast does a great job playing over 150 different characters.

The staging is great. When the actors are doing anything on downstage in the background, they move in slow motion until it's time to become a part of the action upstage. The sets are great. The costumes are beautiful. There are two costumes in particular that I wish I could make part of my every day wardrobe.

Go see the show. Don't listen to the Times reviewer or anyone else who criticizes Sorkin for historical inaccuracies. The same thing could be said for Amadeus. Salieri and Mozart did not really have the relationship portrayed in that play but who cares? They're good shows. They're plays, not documentaries. If anything, these plays are excellent introductions to some pretty weighty but interesting subjects.

In terms of the show being bogged down with information which is a critique I've also seen of the show, that's wrong. The show does deliver a lot of information but it's delivered in bite size pieces that are easy to absorb. The director did a great job streamlining everything so viewers would not get confused.

The story about who invented television as told by Aaron Sorkin in The Farnsworth Invention is compelling. It's good drama that is well crafted and exciting to watch.


AddledWriter said...

I enjoyed reading that. Thanks, Val!

Stop kicking yourself - Sorkin probably forgot about it 3.5 seconds later.

akachris said...

Sorkin has on again-off again thing with Kristen Chenoworth.