Lehigh Valley premiere a “Fact” at Northampton Community College
BY KATHY LAUER-WILLIAMS
Special to The Press
A play that examines facts, creative license and journalistic integrity has its Lehigh Valley premiere, Nov. 16 - 20, Norman Roberts Lab Theater, Northampton Community College, Bethlehem Township.
“The Lifespan of a Fact,” written by Jeremy Kareken, David Murrell and Gordon Farrell, is based on true events.
In the play, Jim Fingal (Aidan Weller), a recent Harvard University graduate, is a fact-checker for a prominent but struggling New York literary magazine.
John D’Agata (Travis J Nugent) is a talented writer who has penned an essay about the suicide of a teenage boy.
When Jim is assigned to fact-check D’Agata’s essay by his boss Emily Penrose (Megan Wolfe), Fingal and D’Agata go head-to-head in a comedic yet gripping battle over fact versus truth.
“This play is a powerful show questioning how emotions can affect facts,” says director Bill Mutimer, Northampton Community College Theatre Department Chairman.
“Our cast and crew have been hard at work rehearsing and getting ready to bring audiences this timely production,” Mutimer says.
The play was adapted from the 2012 book, “The Lifespan of a Fact,” co-written by D’Agata and Fingal.
In 2003, D’Agata wrote an essay, “What Happens There,” which examines suicides in Las Vegas, Nev., following the 2002 suicide of 16-year-old Levi Presley.
The teen, who died by jumping off of the Stratosphere Hotel, becomes the core of D’Agata’s exploration of Las Vegas’ tourist culture.
D’Agata, who worked for the Las Vegas suicide hotline, uses his experiences concerning suicide rates.
After D’Agata’s essay was accepted for publication by the literary magazine, The Believer. Fingal was assigned to fact-check the submission.
In the play, D’Agata and Fingal spar about liberties taken during the writing of the essay and debate the importance of narrative flow in nonfiction and the role of fact-checking when writing creatively about true events. The play explores themes of objectivity, narrative and truth as it attempts to discern the difference between emotional truth and factual truth.
In 2018, the book was adapted for a Broadway play starring Daniel Radcliffe as Fingal.
The play is 80 minutes with no intermission.
“The Lifespan of a Fact” is not suitable for children age 12 and under.
Audience members are asked to bring nonperishable food donations to help stock the NCC pantry, which provides food for needy students.
“Lifespan of a Fact,” 7:30 p.m. Nov. 16, 17, 18, 20; 2 p.m. Nov. 19, Norman Roberts Lab Theater, Northampton Community College, 3835 Green Pond Road, Bethlehem Township. 484-484-3412, http://ncctix.org
“Curtain Rises” is a column about the theater, stage shows, the actors in them and the directors and artists who make them happen. To request coverage, email: Paul Willistein, Focus editor, firstname.lastname@example.org