On my recent trip to NYC, I decided to give my Global Citizens tickets to a friend so I could see The Lifespan of a Fact. The Lifespan of a Fact is a new play that explores the true story of a fact-checker for an essay on teen suicide. The subject matter is heavy, yet the play brilliantly balances this with laugh-out-loud moments that keep you entertained. It’s seriously incredible! Need more convincing? Here are 4 reasons why you should see it immediately.
1. The Cast
The Lifespan of a Fact’s cast is small, but jam-packed full of talent. There are three characters: an editor, an author, and a fact checker.
The main reason I wanted to see this play is because the fact checker is played by Daniel Radcliffe. Obviously, his main claim to fame has come from movies (maybe you’ve heard of a small franchise called “Harry Potter”). What you may not know is that this isn’t Radcliffe’s first time on Broadway, as he has previously starred in 3 shows. Daniel Radcliffe’s character, Jim, is a low-level worker at the magazine who volunteers to fact-check an essay by a famous author. Unfortunately, Jim is a little too good at his job, derailing the entire publication process and throwing out sassy comments every chance he gets.
The Author is played by Bobby Cannavale, who I feel has been in everything. You probably know him from shows like Will and Grace, Boardwalk Empire, and Nurse Jackie, movies like Ant-Man, Daddy’s Home, and Spy, and several Broadway productions. Cannavale is seriously multi-talented. Cannavale’s character, John, is an author who has a tiny quirk of tweaking the facts to fit his narrative. Needless to say, John and Jim clash over John’s habit several times throughout the show.
Finally, we have the Editor, played by the phenomenal Cherry Jones. Cherry Jones has been in so so so many plays throughout her career. She has also been in shows like The Handmaid’s Tale, Transparent, and Black Mirror, as well as movies like Whiskey Tango Foxtrot and the upcoming Amy Poehler flick Wine Country. Jone’s Emily recruits Jim to fact check John’s article, and has to step in when they are about to tear each other apart over the essay.
These three actors play off each other beautifully and put on one heck of a show.
2. The Content
The Lifespan of a Fact explores ideas of journalistic integrity and the importance of being factual, something that is especially important in this day and age. As I mentioned above, Jim, the fact checker, is very good at his job and John, the author, likes to tweak the facts to fit his story. At the beginning of the show, Emily tells Jim that John’s essay is one of the most powerful pieces she has ever read and that she is incredibly excited for the magazine to be publishing it. The essay is truly moving, but the inaccuracies in it cause a riveting discussion on the importance of sticking to the facts and journalistic integrity. There are even some one-offs about “Fake News” in the show, which tie in what is happening in the “real world” now.
The play is based on a real-life account! There’s even a book, The Lifespan of a Fact, that details Jim and John’s discussions over each individual “fact”. I ordered a copy immediately after seeing the play (thanks, Amazon!) and am currently halfway through it – it’s great!
3. The Length
The Lifespan of a Fact is a fairly short production, lasting only 85 minutes with no intermission. The show is fast-paced and entertaining as all get out. It’s long enough to keep you alert and interested while short enough that you don’t get worn out watching. This production is especially perfect for first-time play goers. Bonus: if you see the weekend matinée showings, you get out early enough that you can see another show at night!
4. The Comedy
Finally, we have the comedic nature of the show. I can’t stress enough how hilarious The Lifespan of a Fact is! Jim, John, and Emily all have character quirks that pop up at various points of the show to keep the audience giggling. The characters throw out one-liners and zingers every chance they get. I started crying from laughing when Daniel Radcliffe is forced to hide in broom closet under some stairs, as it totally reminded me of his time as Harry Potter. The comedic moments come when you least expect them, which makes them that much better.
Hopefully, I’ve convinced you to go see this phenomenal play! The show’s run ends January 13, so get your tickets quick. It is definitely one that is not to be missed!
PS: Looking for more fun plays around NYC? I absolutely adored seeing Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on Broadway; read why I think you should see it here.