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Thomas Alva Edison: Man vs Myth

from Hank Fincken: A National Theatre Company of One

Program image

Mr. Edison is sometimes credited with inventing the twentieth century. If he did not, he certainly pushed it in a new direction. Mr. Fincken has been portraying Edison for more than twenty years. He hopes to show why Edison the man is so much more interesting than Edison the myth.

"I feel it was a unique learning experience to be involved with a person who re-enacts another's life. He was so knowledgeable and efficient that at the end some of my children asked was it really Thomas Edison."
Educator New York State

Program Rating

   based on 42 evaluation(s).

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About This Program


By Request: $250.00

If four sites sign up for Date/time scheduled program, Mr. Fincken will lower the price $25.

For this school year 2017-2018 for the months of May and June, all performances will get a $25 discount.


2-4 grade 45 min.; one hour fo 6-12th grades 1 hour

Target Audience

Education: Grade(s) 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, Parent, Adult LearnersPublic Library: Library Patrons, Library Staff adult groups interested in history or science

Minimum participants:

No Minimum

Maximum participants:

There is no maximum, but I recommend under 50.

Primary Disciplines

Social Studies/History, Career Education, Economics/Business, Performing Arts, Sciences, Character Education, Problem Solving, Gifted & Talented

Program Delivery Mode

Videoconference - H.323 (Polycom, Cisco/Tandberg, LifeSize, etc...)
Videoconference – Webcam/desktop (Zoom, Skype, iChat, Vidyo, Movi/Jabber, Blue Jeans, etc...)

Booking Information

Book it!

Receive this program and 9 more for one low price when you purchase the CILC Virtual Expeditions package. Learn more

For more information contact CILC at (507) 388-3672

Provider's Cancellation Policy

Please remember, I lose a full day whenever you cancel. I ask for half the fee if a site cancels within one week of the performance.

About This Provider

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Hank Fincken: A National Theatre Company of One

Indianapolis, IN
United States

A spell-binding wordsmith, Hank Fincken has the distinction of being named Master Artist by the Indiana Arts Commission and given the Achievement and Service Award by the Indiana Theatre Association. Mr. Fincken has written and produced 12 original plays, published 25 stories, and tours the country with 8 original one-man plays.

Mr. Fincken's programs are available in Spanish.  He has won 6 Pinnacle Awards for his various programs on writing and History.

Hank Fincken

Program Details


1. Mr. Edison will discuss his life and his inventions.
2. Students will ask Mr. Edison questions.
3. Mr. Edison will share some slides of his family and inventions.
4. Hank will adapt the program to your unique needs.
5. Students will ask Mr. Fincken what it is like to be Edison and what might be the differences between what Edison said and what the lab notebooks say he did.


The participants will learn something about the invention process, the history of the light system and the communication and entertainment industries. They will know more about the man himself, the times he lived in, and what it took and takes to succeed. Students will also understand that Edison's success was the result of several factors, including hard work, luck, working with the right people, and being at the right place at the right time. They will also learn how history gets rewritten to fit the needs of later generations.

Standards Alignment

National Standards

· Students improvise dialogue to tell stories, and formalize improvisations by writing or recording the dialogue

· Students imagine and clearly describe characters, their relationships, and their environments
· Students assume roles that exhibit concentration and contribute to the action of classroom dramatizations based on personal experience and heritage, imagination, literature, and history
· Students analyze descriptions, dialogue, and actions to discover, articulate, and justify character motivation and invent character behaviors based on the observation of interactions, ethical choices, and emotional responses of people
· Students demonstrate acting skills (such as sensory recall, concentration, breath control, diction, body alignment, control of isolated body parts) to develop characterizations that suggest artistic choices
· Students in an ensemble, interact as the invented characters
Students adjust their use of spoken, written, and visual language (e.g., conventions, style, vocabulary) to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences and for different purposes
Students apply knowledge of language structure, language conventions (e.g., spelling and punctuation), media techniques, figurative language, and genre to create, critique, and discuss print and nonprint texts.
NL-ENG.K-12.8 DEVELOPING RESEARCH SKILLS Students use a variety of technological and information resources (e.g., libraries, databases, computer networks, video) to gather and synthesize information and to create and communicate knowledge.
Students develop an understanding of and respect for diversity in language use, patterns, and dialects across cultures, ethnic groups, geographic regions, and social roles.

State Standards


Social Studies
SS.5.4.3 Trace the development of technology and major inventions on business productivity during the early development of the United States.
SS.6.5.9 Identify examples of inventions and technological innovations that have brought about cultural change in Europe and the Americas, and examine their impact. Example: Innovations in communications, such as computer technology, help to spread information and ideas very rapidly. One result may be an increase in the rate of cultural change.
SS.7.5.5 Examine the impact of cultural change brought about by technological inventions and innovations in the past and present. Example: Trace the technology of paper making from its origins in China in about 100 C.E., to its spread to the Middle East, Africa, and Europe in the Middle Ages, and speculate about its possible impact.
SS.8.4.4 Identify and explain how new inventions increased productivity in manufacturing and agriculture in the eighteenth and nineteenth century.
SS.8.4.9 Relate technological change and inventions to changes in labor productivity in the United States. Example: The cotton gin increased labor productivity in the early nineteenth century.
SS.SOC.6.2 Examine various social influences that can lead to immediate and long-term changes. Examples: natural and man-made disasters, spatial movement of people, technology, urbanization, industrialization; immigration, wars, challenge to authority, laws, diffusion of cultural traits, discrimination, discoveries and inventions, and scientific exploration.
SS.SOC.6.8 Trace the development of the use of a specific type of technology in the community.

Give examples of how tools, such as automobiles, computers, and electric motors, have affected the way we live
S.4.1.7 Recognize and explain that any invention may lead to other inventions
S.6.3.17 Recognize and describe that energy is a property of many objects and is associated with heat, light, electricity, mechanical motion and sound.