REVIEW: THE LIFESPAN OF A FACT at Curious Theatre

by Edwin Lobach

What is a fact? And, if a fact is what is known or proved to be true, then what is truth? Are facts and truths interchangeable? Does one have to come before the other? More to the point, is a tiny, miniscule detail more important than the compelling telling of an important story?

Well welcome back to the 24 th season of Curious Theatre Company, where if it has no guts, there is no story. It’s been eighteen months of us not really knowing what the heck is going on in the world, a dichotomy between facts and truths which we’ve been volleying back and forth, fact and disinformation, so what would be the best show with which to open Curious Theatre? A play about a novel about a real
essay written by a real writer which was fact-checked by a real person, and the two of them fighting over the importance of what is fact and what is truth.

Lifespan of a Fact is about essayist John D’Agata (William Hahn) and his experience writing an essay about a teenager in Las Vegas who ended his life. But before it’s published the editor-in-chief of a top New York publication, Emily Penrose (Sheryl McCallum) needs somebody to briefly fact-check it. Now, John D’Agata is a pretty renowned writer, so Penrose believes it to be an easy job and pawns it off to a new intern, Jim Fingal (John Hauser).

I enjoyed the three actors for different reasons, but McCallum’s performance really convinced me she was a top-of-the-line editor-in-chief. She commanded attention and demanded respect, an overall portrayal of seasoned authority. The interesting part about the characters D’Agata and Fingal is you can’t have one without the other, because of their contrast. Hauser played the young intern ready to
tackle the world. Still a greenhorn with hesitation and doubt, but a firm sense of what’s right. Hahn on the other hand portrayed the older, hardened-by-life writer, who was arrogant and obstinate.

The story begins to unwind as Fingal gets a bit too passionate about the facts in D’Agata’s essay and thus ensues the comical dichotomy of the two characters, of truth and fact, all as the boss tries to keep them from exploding on each other. The scene, brought into existence by Charles Dean Packard, is what you’d expect for a play set in the present. There was a modern office with a nice New York skyline view, and a quaint Las Vegas home owned by an older lady. The office window also projected the countdown to the essay’s deadline as well as some other fun perks.

I’m not about to rave and rant about how this is my favorite play, or even my favorite from Curious Theatre, but it is comical and serious and, most of all, incredibly relevant. And besides, aren’t y’all getting a little crazy from, well, everything? Lifespan of a Fact just might put our truths into perspective. You can check the facts on this show yourself by calling 303-623-0524 or by visiting CuriousTheatre.org.

 

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