Some Good, Some Not So Much

Here’s a review from somebody in the cheap seats:

Aaron Sorkin’s The Farnsworth Invention got pretty roundly panned by Ben Brantley, but my assessment of it is far more kind. The first question is whether Sorkin has learned from the failings of Studio 60, and the answer is mostly yes.

What’s more interesting are the comments that follow, which discuss some of the issues we’ve been entertaining around here.  Like, f’rinstance, this one:

It’s not just Wikipedia.
Apparently, Sorkin pretty much destroys the historical record,
especially in terms of key patent decisions. As a Sorkin fan, I really
want to see the show; as a historian, I’m queasy that he’s reportedly
playing so fast and loose with the facts. I have no problem with
"historical fiction" as a genre, but I do think creative artists bear
some responsibility to keep the major details correct.

Which is my point entirely. Anybody can make stuff up to serve their dramatic purpose (to varying degrees of success, as reviews of this play readily attest). The real challenge is remaining faithful to the underlying facts and finding/amplifying the drama within. That’s a full order of magnitude harder. That one of the great screenwriter/playwrights of our time could not rise to such a task only underscores the degree of difficulty.

About the author

Paul Schatzkin

View all posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *