MOUNT DESERT — “Lifespan of a Fact,” the witty and thoughtful play written by Jeremy Kareken, David Murrell and Gordon Farrell, will be opening at the Acadia Repertory Theatre on July 6.
As the play begins, essayist John D’Agata has written a poignant and brilliant piece on a teenage boy’s death in Las Vegas. Accepted for publication by editor-in-chief Emily Penrose, this strong essay could save her struggling magazine. Before it can go to print, she assigns Jim Fingal, a fresh-out-of- Harvard intern, to fact-check the piece. And Jim does. He checks every single fact. What follows is a head-to-head battle between D’Agata and Fingal: a spirited debate on the nature of nonfiction, and whether emotional truth or factual accuracy matters more.
The play is based on the book of the same name, co-written by the real-life Jim Fingal and John D’Agata. There, D’Agata’s original essay is presented, line by line, literally surrounded by the meticulous corrections and annotations of Fingal. It’s one of the most bonkers books out there; it’s not a story that is easy to imagine being adapted for theatre. Yet these disputes are brought to life on the stage with an abundance of humor, intellect and heart.
“The play presents a very compelling argument,” said the show’s director, Andrew Mayer. “Both of the characters have excellent points to support their philosophies on the matter, though neither is fully in the right. This makes the struggle so inherently human and real. And it speaks volumes as this subject becomes more relevant in our culture, in a world where ‘alternative facts’ sow distrust in our country.”
“Lifespan of a Fact” runs through July 25, Tuesday through Saturday at 8:15 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.