Farnsworth Chronicles, 5

In most ways, I am the interloper in the cast of The Farnsworth Invention, the new guy on the block.  Most of this 21-person ensemble have worked together in the past, either on Chicago or last season's All Shook Up.  Many of them are also either current or former students of the Keyano College drama program.  All of that said, they've made me feel very welcome and allowed me to take a few behind the scenes pictures which I will insert through this blog post.

Francis Mennigke and Brodie Dransutavicius on break

The show is now completely blocked, an intricate process that involves coordinating actors playing multiple characters with multiple scene changes - one minute we're at the New York Stock Exchange the next we're back in the lab in San Francisco. Through the two act play written by the award winning Aaron Sorkin, furniture, props and set pieces appear and disappear as the author takes us on a guided tour of the creation of "the most influential invention in history," "a device that would allow anyone access to all visual information in the world."

Michael Beamish (Farnsworth) and his crew figuring out the complex television device

With the actors knowing where they are going and when, we began the process on Sunday of working through the play, scene by scene.  I had to miss Sunday morning's work as I was committed to the dress rehearsal for TEDxFortMcMurray, but by the time I had returned for the afternoon session, the first act began to really come to life.

Rhiannon, Michael, Marlena, Adam, David and James

At this point, many of the lines are starting to sink in, the blocking is more familiar, and we are moving from mechanics to meaning.

"This is my favourite part of the process," said Claude Giroux, director of the production.

Director Claude Giroux (left) and stage manage Steph Link (right) working out some details

The reason why is obvious as the lab scene when Farnsworth and his team finally get a successful transmission of a live moving image begins to sizzle.  It's fun to watch from my perch on stage left - ensemble work done well is absolutely compelling.

Adam, Francis and Humberly

I'm looking forward to a completely free evening so I can make some progress on my line-learning process.  I'm more than a third of the way through the script at this point, slamming into the tougher dialogue heavy scenes toward the end of act one.  Getting comfortably off book is an exciting time in the rehearsal process as the lines, blocking and intentions begin their transition from the head to the heart.

Michael Beamish plays Philo T. Farnsworth

Two full weeks of practices are done.  We've gone from read through to blocking to work through in what seems like a blink of an eye.  My voice, which was really struggling to hold together last weekend, has really strengthened, making it through 18 hours of rehearsals over the last three days.

Mr. Sarnoff and Baby M

Meanwhile, I've been getting a daily dose of Baby M, as Claude and Tiffany's little one has been staying at our house during this process.  She even pops into rehearsal from time to time, which she did on Saturday.

When you fully commit to a process like this with a group of like-minded passionate artists, it is an extraordinary thing.  Over time, many hearts begin to beat as one, and the result can create a magical experience for the audience.  We hope you will join us for the finished product as the show opens on April 27th at Keyano Theatre. If you want to check out the run dates and grab some tickets online, click here.


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