Aaron Sorkin shows inventiveness with Farnsworth | Fine Arts | Chron.com – Houston Chronicle

260xStory Interesting choice of words in this headline to a report on The Farnsworth Invention as it prepares to open in Houston:

As director, how does Cromer maintain balance between the two
adversaries? Does he strive not to throw the audience’s sympathy toward
one or other?

“I can’t think about that,” Cromer answers. “All I can do is have each character make his case as hard as he can. Sometimes when they’re having it out, it gets so snarled — as in any legal battle, it becomes so much ‘he said/he said.’ Who’s right or wrong evaporates in the gray areas. That’s part of the genius of the play.”

Like virtually any fact-based play, Farnsworth takes its share of dramatic liberties. Cromer has done no research into the men’s lives beyond the play itself.

“I’m not a historian,” Cromer says. “The play is not meant as a documentary about these guys. It’s an extrapolation on the facts of their lives.”

Sorta reminds of what Victor Moore said about directing Gone With the Wind in 1939.  Somebody asked him if he'd read the novel.  "No," the director said, "I'm shooting the script."

And so it goes with The Farnsworth Invention.  The director is not interested in the actual history behind the story he is is directing, he cares only about the script that the playwright has supplied him.  It's not facts, it's an "extrapolation" of the facts. 

Which is exactly how history gets re-written. 

Ummm…. Houston?  In case anybody is listening… we have a problem. In the court case that climaxes The Farnsworth Invention, a verdict is rendered.  The verdict in the play is the exact opposite of the verdict rendered in the actual litigation.  Extrapolate THAT.

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Paul Schatzkin

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