On October 17, 2019 I saw the play The Lifespan of a Fact at the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis. Have you ever wondered how much of the media that you consume contains truth? Have you ever pondered how you personally define “truth”? Do you ever examine your own views on what kind of media you consume and whether or not you have different standards and expectations for how it presents supposed facts depending on the genre? How many artistic liberties are permissible to take with factual events in order to create a message that you think has merit? If you have ever thought about such matters or generally enjoy the kind of play that sparks discussions among your theatre-going party, I think you will love The Lifespan of a Fact.
There are three characters in the play, a writer, a magazine editor and a fact checker. They battle with each other as they negotiate what kind of finished product will end up in the magazine according to personal and industry standards of ethics. Will the finished product serve high art or the interests of the readers, the community, the advertisers or publishers? Can a compromise be reached? What would you decide if you were the editor?
Even though the play deals with serious issues and will give you a lot to think about, this production will not test your endurance or attention span. It’s not long enough to require an intermission and is fast-moving and entertaining with humorous and emotionally touching passages. Even though one could obviously apply the ideas in the play to current political situations, there are no overt partisan political references so it’s safe to invite your conservative or liberal friends – all should have a good time. The Lifespan of a Fact is showing through November 10, 2019.
Link to Repertory Theatre box office: