Tuesday, July 27, 2021
 
 
‘Lifespan of a Fact’ Asks Which Truth Matters Most?
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Kevin Wade plays a nerd who wants the facts, the whole facts and nothing but the facts while Brett Moellenberg plays a distinguished writer who is more interested in the humanity of the story he is trying to tell.
   
Friday, June 4, 2021
 

BY KAREN BOSSICK

The Spot has led a return of theater to Sun Valley as the world begins to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic.

Its “Lifespan of a Fact” is livestreamed. But, nevertheless, it’s a performance that engages the mind through a witty repertoire of fact-flinging.

If you haven’t seen it yet, you can still catch it through 11:59 p.m. Sunday, June 6, by purchasing tickets at www.spotsunvalley.com.

The play is based on the true story of John D’Agata who penned a story about a suicide of a Las Vegas teenager for a magazine. He sees his story as a way to talk about the larger story of how he believes the culture of Las Vegas encourages suicide.

But his bid to offer this bigger picture is thwarted by an ambitious Harvard grad named Jim Fingal who is assigned to fact check Fingal’s story.

It’s somewhat maddening to watch his attention to detail that starts with the first paragraph of a story that’s 130 pages long.

Fingal, played to a T by Brett Kevin Wade, quibbles over such unimportant details whether bricks appear reddish or brownish. He argues that the moon was not half-full because you could only see 12 percent of it on the night in question. He even takes his job so seriously that he flies to Las Vegas and blows through the door crack of the home where D’Agata cared for his dying mother to test the facts.

In his defense, he notes that if a reader notes one wrong fact, they may have a tough time believing anything that follows.

“Story comes from the Greek historia—an accurate retelling,” he adds.

“It’s not your memory,” cries an infuriated D’Agata, played by Brett Moellenburg. D’Agata cares more about the message he’s trying to convey to the reader than how many slot machines the teenager walked past the night he jumped from the Stratosphere.

The way he sees it, facts just get in the way of the point of the story. And the story, in his mind, is that of a city and culture that turns a blind eye to the tragedy of suicide and mental health struggles.

Yanna Lantz, meanwhile, is entertaining as the hardened, high-strung editor who presides over the tug of war between the two that lasted seven years in real life.

Careful—she likes to scream.

“We looked at the script for years. It’s a powerful story and so timely,” said Yantz. “I’m always looking at what facts make a story, what facts make true stories. I think there will be interesting conversations come out of this.”

 The filming of the play, which opened on Broadway in 2018, is a little rocky at first, as it goes out of focus a few times. But it quickly settles down and the viewer quickly becomes focused on the volleyball game of words.

In the end the viewer is left to ponder: Which truth matters most?

Tickets range from $10 to $25 and are available at www.spotsunvalley.com

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