Thoughtful “Franklinland” tells a fictional tale of a founding father — and fatherhood

Benjamin Franklin (Erik Sandvold) is happy to sing his own praises in Lloyd Suh's history-poking play

In the play “Franklinland,” Benjamin Franklin is a man of many ideas and ideals. He is an avid inventor and a fellow with no shortage of appetites. And, as portrayed by Erik Sandvold in Curious Theatre Company’s amusing production of Lloyd Suh’s history-poking play, he’s not about to let you forget it.

Beneath a curly, shoulder-length wig, Sandvold relishes the grandiosity and enthusiasm of one of the United States’ founding fathers. That he’s not a particularly encouraging father is cause for consideration, consternation and comedy. In fact, the person who Ben, 46, harangues most with his ambitions and his feats is his illegitimate and understandably hapless son, 20-year-old William Franklin (played by Kenny Fedorko).

Benjamin Franklin (Erik Sandvold) is happy to sing his own praises in Lloyd Suh’s history-poking play “Franklinland,” at Curious Theatre Company. (Michael Ensminger, provided by Curious Theatre)

The play opens in 1882, with something of a prologue. A spotlight is trained on a golden box. Ben picks it up, opens it, and a tinkling rendition of “America (My Country, ‘Tis of Thee)” plays. Over the course of the play, the tune morphs in ways that signal the transformation of the colonies into a nascent nation.

When William joins Ben in a barn, his father begins lecturing him as they prep a kite, silk body with a cloth tail and a metal key attached to the end. Thunder rumbles and lightning flashes beyond the barn doors, reminding all of Ben’s interest in electricity. Craving connection, William gee-whizzes his way through their experiment.

“I should like to fly a kite with you in any weather, I should like to spend more time with you in general,” William states with the kind of need that so often invites rejection. “For I should like more than anything to understand what it is that you do. …read more

Source:: The Denver Post

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