Lifespan of a Fact

On the slippery nature of information
Melbourne Theatre Company
by
ABR Arts 24 May 2021

Lifespan of a Fact

On the slippery nature of information
Melbourne Theatre Company
by
ABR Arts 24 May 2021
Steve Mouzakis as John D'Agata, Nadine Garner as Emily Penrose, and Karl Richmond as Jim Fingal in Lifespan of a Fact (photograph by Jeff Busby)
Steve Mouzakis as John D'Agata, Nadine Garner as Emily Penrose, and Karl Richmond as Jim Fingal in Lifespan of a Fact (photograph by Jeff Busby)

Over the past decade or so, the centrality of fact in journalism, in political discourse, and in long-form non-fiction writing itself has taken a hit. The days are long gone when readers of The Washington Post could have confidence that the journalists who broke open Watergate had not only done due diligence but had chased every fact down the rabbit hole of governmental corruption. Now readers tend to gravitate to media organisations that confirm their own bias and dismiss the others as hubs of half-truths and outright lies. But what if the facts obscured rather than revealed the heart of a story? What if the facts got in the way of the mood, the texture, and the feeling of a real-life event? Is there any justification for deliberate or poetic inaccuracy in non-fiction? Lifespan of a Fact, a new play currently being presented by the Melbourne Theatre Company, has us wondering.

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