The Lifespan of a Fact
Explore the Battle Between Truth and Lies
Recent Harvard grad Jim Fingal has a small job: to fact check articles for one of the best magazines in the country. His big assignment: apply his skill to a groundbreaking piece by noted author John D’Agata. The problem: John made up some of his article. Well, a lot of his article. OK, actually, maybe the majority of it. What starts professional quickly becomes heated as one question rises to the surface: can Jim Fingal ever just shut the FACT up? Based on a true story, Daniel Radcliffe will lead the cast of The Lifespan of a Fact in its world premiere this fall on Broadway.
Originally commissioned for Harper’s magazine in 2003, D’Agata’s essay titled "What Happens There," covered the suicide of Levi Presley in Las Vegas the previous year. The piece explored the Nevada gambling capital's tourism-centered culture and traditionally high suicide rates, yet was pulled by Harper's after editors found factual errors. It was then submitted to The Believer, with Fingal being assigned to fact check the story. His initial findings ignite a seven-year debate on the blurred lines of what passes for truth in literary nonfiction. The question: does an essay require the same accuracy as a news article? The piece was eventually resubmitted to The Believer in 2010 and the two co-authored The Lifespan of a Fact in 2012, which was named Best Book of the Year by the Huffington Post and an Editor’s Choice by The New York Times Book Review.
Daniel Radcliffe returns to Broadway as Jim Fingal. Since the Harry Potter film franchise began winding down, he has been a regular on Broadway, making his debut in 2008 in Equus, testing his musical comedy chops in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying in 2011, and playing the title role in 2014 in Martin McDonagh's The Cripple of Inishmaan. Stage and screen veteran Cherry Jones (Fingal’s magazine editor and boss) won Tony Awards for lead actress in The Heiress in 1995 and Doubt in 2005. Her most recent Broadway appearance was in The Glass Menagerie in 2014. She appeared on the small screen in 24, picking up an Emmy for her work as the U.S. president. Bobby Cannavale will star as John D’Agata, the author with a fact problem. He is best known for his Emmy-winning role in Boardwalk Empire as well as Tony-nominated turns in Mauritius and The Motherf*cker With The Hat.
In a time when “fake news” is our new reality, we must ask what truth is and when it matters. Is The Lifespan of a Fact a new play based on a true story? A true-ish story? Anyone who has never told a lie has never told a good story.
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THE BEST WAY TO GET THERE!
Departing at 7:00 am on Saturdays and 6:30am on Saturdays in December and all Wednesdays. (See our Directions page for a map and detailed driving directions.) Diversions’ guides serve a selection of fruit juices, yogurt, muffins, bagels with assorted cheeses, chocolate apricots, coffee, tea and more. En route, you will hear background information on theater, art, cultural events and restaurants in Manhattan. Around 10:15am, our coach stops at the New York Palace on Madison Ave., between 50th & 51st St and then at 57th and Madison. You are free to enjoy the sights and sounds of the city until the 2:00pm matinee. At approximately 5pm, the coach picks you up at a designated theater. On the return to Baltimore, we serve an open bar, hors d’oeuvres and a Zabar’s dinner accompanied by a compelling video. We estimate an 8:30pm arrival at home.