In a world of fake news, alternate facts, social media frenzy and an increasingly opinionated and polarized public/audience, the issues raised in the intellectually challenging play The Lifespan of a Fact are more relevant than ever. Now being presented at the Keegan Theatre, this play may be short in length, but it probingly explores the weighty issues of the passion of the essay writer/prose stylist versus the scrupulous and zealous fact-checking of the journalist/article writer.
In a tightly compressed eighty -five minutes, this intimate play consisting of three characters also explores the additional issues of who is ultimately responsible for truth and integrity when the bottom line is often looking for a good demographic/reader response, time constraints and cost constraints. Does the emotional truth of a moment -in this case, a suicide of a sixteen year-old youth in Las Vegas (by jumping off of a hotel building roof) justify sacrificing specific facts in the pursuit of an agreed-upon writing deadline?
This play is replete with alternating comedic, ironic, and contrasting serious tones in the written text. … Iván Carlo as Jim Fingal, (the fact-checking intern), delivered an extremely rewarding and rich portrayal of the occasionally over-eager yet extremely efficient intern. The energy needed for the battle of wills in this intriguing play is palpable whenever Mr. Carlo is onstage. Mr. Carlo nicely toggles the nuances between enthusiasm and serious intentions in his portrayal.
Are facts just facts and is prose simply prose or is it more complicated than that? A “Rashomon-like” drama unfolds as one is left to decide whose version of events is the correct one. The play also reminded me at times of the play Doubt — as the ending leaves one with no decisive answer.
The Lifespan of a Fact is a play that will make you think about the meaning of writing with integrity when it is so intricately connected to the fragility of human life.