Share your thoughts

TimeLine’s Chicago premiere of The Farnsworth Invention starts performances this week! The professional reviewers will weigh in soon but we want to give you a chance to share your own review, comments or questions about the production below.

Pictured (from left): Zach Kenney, Bridgette Pechman, Rob Fagin, Tom McElroy, Larry Baldacci, Eliza Stoughton, Jamie Vann, Jeremy Glickstein and Zach Gray.
Pictured (from left): Zach Kenney, Bridgette Pechman, Rob Fagin, Tom McElroy, Larry Baldacci, Eliza Stoughton, Jamie Vann, Jeremy Glickstein and Zach Gray.

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Comments (22)

  1. frederick n bates

    Sadly, The Farnsworth Invention was a fine production of a play that was not worth doing. The play had no substance as a play and the fine acting was wasted on the vehicle. It might make for an interesting chapter in a book of science history…which was what it seemed to be. But it lacked any of the character or plot driven complexity of a piece of theater.

  2. Robert Bator

    Saw 6 plays in Chicago in 5 days. The Farnsworth Invention was the pick of a very distinguished lot. Besides great acting and thought-provoking plays, I am always amazing at your inventive use of the performance space.

  3. Judy Fay

    Really loved this play. Best play I have seen in quite a while and I have told everybody I have encountered to go and see this show.

  4. Jim Henderson

    I enjoyed the play from beginning to end. The players evoked images from our collective cultural past through the fast-paced scenes. Great direction and acting was augmented in my mind by personal memories of growing up with television that were rekindled by the excitement of the play.

  5. Lauren Topel

    We had enjoyed the original Broadway production of The Farnsworth Invention so we were anxious to see it again. Without a doubt, we enjoyed the Timeline Production even more than the original. Great acting, directing and creative staging and sets! We have recommended Timeline to all our friends.

  6. DiAnne Walsh

    I attened the perfor mance with 3 friends who are subscribers and also
    experienced theater goers. We all enjoyed the play. The acting and
    directing were first rate. The dialogue was typical Sorkin quick and snappy. I learned a lot about the beginnings og television.
    Fist rate.

  7. Bob Barr

    Saw the play with my wife and two college-age grandchildren. We all thought it was a spectacular theatrical production. The play itself was of great interest, and the acting, set design and direction were superb. TimeLine gets better all the time.

  8. Jim Venskus

    Potentially very difficult material was perfectly handled. Well cast, very well performed, and wonderfully staged. Fascinating view into corporate maneuvering, the inventive personality, and the competitive struggle to achieve in an unforgiving economic environment of patents. Thoughly enjoyed this one!

  9. David Varnerin

    The production was riveting. The intensity of the actors throughout the play was remarkable. The Tribune review did not reflect what I saw last Thursday night. The play received very favorable comments from Bruce Dumont on the Beyond the Beltway radio program and from Channel 11’s theatre reviewer. Some people I knew who were in attendance at the May 6th performance indicated that they would likely subscribe to TimeLine next year. Hopefully others will have the same reaction.

  10. RGM

    Fine job by a highly talented cast on an overblown play. Would have made a much more compelling evening as a one-act at half the length.

  11. Bob Jacobson

    What I left with after seeing the play:

    1. A better understanding of the history of, and particularly the 2 most important people involved with, the dawn of the mass communication age.
    2. Seeing the drama in both the greatness and meanness of spirit that the 2 protagonists displayed alongside their intellect and imagination.
    3. An uplift that can only come with a great dramatic presentation. The acting was nothing less than great. The scene coordination was great . And finally , being able to tell that big a story in that small a space really deserves accolades.

  12. Mary Lou Haddad

    I am a big theater fan. I saw The Farnsworth Invention on Broadway a few yrs ago and loved it. I enjoyed it again at Timeline. I almost always love the play chosen by Timeline—-they are plays that are worth thinking about and discussing.
    The acting and staging is always great. I am recommending this play to all my friends.

  13. Joan Piowaty

    Enjoyed the play very much and was much impressed with the production, staging and direction.

  14. Bob. Ben, Maria Stracke

    The individual actors projected so much energy that this small space crackled witn electricity. The non-stop pace kept us on the edge of our seats. The narrator covered everybody. He was all over the place and it seemed perfectly natural that he should be explaining everything on the spot. That way of moving the action was so cleverly done. Nobody was just “acting”. I felt I was on the spot as things were really happening.

    I meant to write a note about Master Harold, the previous production. Four of us found it difficult to get going after feeling the emotion of the last scene. Unforgettable!

  15. Mary Feay

    We have been to many TimeLine plays and enjoyed them all. The Farnsworth Invention convinced us to subscribe, we don’t want to miss any of the plays. We have been recommending the Farnsworth Invention to friends and people we meet (at other plays), with the warning they’d better get tickets fast. Next step, become donors.

  16. Paula and Sam Golden

    We have enjoyed all the plays we’ve seen at Timeline Theatre, and are subscribers. (We originally attended because our grandson, Aaron Golden, appeared in two plays.) The Farnsworth Invention was no exception. It was exciting, informative and very satisfying. For once we have a play which tells a story about a business and makes it very exciting. Fine acting by all, especially by the player who played Sarnoff.

  17. Martin Redish

    I thought the play and the production were fantastic. I found it a compelling exploration of the tension and intersection between science and commerce, and between the desire for knowledge for its own sake on the one hand and the spirit of capitalism–for all its good, and all its evil–on the other. It was the last of a group of unbelievably well done plays put on by Timeline this year. My only question (more than a concern): the running newsreel video at the theatre seemed to indicate that the playwright took many liberties with actual history. I wonder, what is the obligation of the author of a play about history to the facts? Is it appropriate to modify the facts in order to make a broader point? I have mixed feelings on the issue.

    • TimeLine Theatre

      Hi Martin,

      Thanks for your comments. Yes, the playwright Aaron Sorkin took (some pretty significant) liberties with historical facts in the play, and the question you ask is a very compelling and thought-provoking one. Our dramaturg for the production, Maren Robinson, tried to address that question in her blog post entitled “Art and History,” which you can read and comment upon here:

      Thanks again for seeing the show!

  18. Caroline Moore

    I have been a subscriber for five years and I always enjoy the plays, but this one I found quite boring. I agree with Frederick Bates that I would have preferred to read an article about the story than sit through it. The plot line was predictable and very depressing, the characters were two dimensional stereotypes and there was nothing about it that made me feel, ‘Only in the theater could I have such an experience.’

  19. Tom Brennan

    My wife and I enjoyed the play a great deal and I think some of the actors were superb.

    Too bad though the play took considerable liberties with fact, you know, such as the fact that actually Farnsworth won his patent suit against RCA. Knowing that Farnsworth won his suit and that RCA paid him royalties would give the play a different meaning and emotion and so in a way the play is based on a false premise.

  20. William Pitsenberger

    What great staging, lighting and acting! And Sorkin’s script was excellent. The closing speech and coda with Farnsworth and Sarnoff literally made my eyes fill with tears, it was so moving.

  21. George Panagakis