Daniel Radcliffe locked himself inside a cupboard under a staircase. I saw it with my owns eyes, and it was truly surreal. It took every fiber of my being not to scream.
The Lifespan of a Fact is based on a true story about the complicated relationship between a writer and his fact checker. The book explores the relationship between truth and accuracy within literary nonfiction, as does the play. The all-star cast brings the book and debate to life. Radcliffe’s John Fingal is tasked with checking a piece written by John D’Agata, Cannavale, for a paper run by Emily Penrose, Cherry Jones. With a deadline looming, all three repeatedly clash. The conflict stems from D’Agata’s story. In the article, he sacrificed aspects of the truth for prose, and Radcliffe contests every change. Everything from the color of tiles in the lobby to the cause of death is up for debate. Radcliffe’s mixture of anxiety and self-assuredness shines through in this role as does Cannavale’s arrogance. Jones perfectly channels the conflicts of a conflicted editor dying to publish a piece while maintaining journalistic integrity.
It’s a very timely production, debating what exactly is truth and how privilege influences perception. What’s more important, truth or accuracy, in non-fiction? Is truth a threat to understanding?
Featured Image Credit: Peter Cunningham