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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Blurring the lines between fact and fiction

Kindred Theatre presents The Lifespan of a Fact at Studio 16 in Vancouver from May 2-12.

In 2003, American essayist John D’Agata wrote What Happens There, examining the culture of suicide in Las Vegas following the 2002 suicide death of sixteen-year-old Levi Presley, who died after jumping from the Stratosphere Hotel. Originally commissioned by Harper’s Magazine, the essay was pulled from that publication over some inaccuracies.

Despite the controversy over some facts, The Believer accepted D’Agata’s essay and assigned intern Jim Fingal to continue fact-checking the work. As Fingal continued to identify large and small inaccuracies in D’Agata’s essay, there was much back-and-forth between them before it was finally published in 2010.

Those exchanges resulted in the two collaborating on the book The Lifespan of a Fact. In addition to following the essay as originally written by D’Agata, the book also highlighted the fact-checking process in which Fingal and D’Agata engaged between the essay’s original submission and its publication.

Six years after the book’s publication, The Lifespan of a Fact was adapted into a Broadway play by Jeremy Kareken, David Murrell and Gordon Farrell.

Although the play has all the hallmarks of a drama, it is instead a comedic showdown as the play’s “two protagonists engage in a battle of wits that raises questions about the nature of truth in modern journalism.”

In an exploration of the nature of truth in modern journalism and the sometimes blurred lines between fact and fiction, Kindred Theatre presents the Vancouver premiere of The Lifespan of a Fact.

The show will feature award-winning actor, writer, director, and producer Ben Immanuel as D’Agata, actor Tal Shulman, who will also appear in The Comedy of Errors this summer at Bard on the Beach, as Fingal and actor and Kindred Theatre’s founder and artistic producer Loretta Walsh as the magazine’s editor, Emily Penrose. Veteran actor and director Jennifer Clement will direct.

The Lifespan of a Fact is not only a story brimming with comedic banter and debate about ‘truth’ but also offers themes of the story being a conduit to connect us to our humanity and trust in journalism and the media,” says the show’s producers.

Kindred Theatre presents The Lifespan of a Fact at Studio 16 (1555 West 7th Ave, Vancouver) from May 2-12. Visit for tickets and information.

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