Artistic Director Michael Stevenson &
|by Jeremy Kareken, David Murell & Gordon Farrell|
Directed by Michael Stevenson
Live Theatre & Virtually On Demand
May 4 - June 5, 2022
Performance Length: 95 Minutes, No Intermission
|Assistant Stage Manager
|Rehearsal Stage Manager
THE LIFESPAN OF A FACT was originally produced on Broadway by
|*Member Actors' Equity Association|
Capital Stage’s mission is to entertain, engage and challenge our audience with bold, thought provoking theatre.
THINGS TO KNOW
To attend a performance everyone in your party must present proof of vaccination for COVID-19 (with a second dose at least 14 days prior to the date of the performance), plus a booster (if eligible and 6 months after your final dose) with a valid photo ID. Masks are currently recommended, not required, while COVID case levels are low in Sacramento County. If cases rise to medium or high levels, masks will be required. Visit our COVID-19 Safety Protocols & Procedures Page to stay up to date.
Recording and photography of any kind are prohibited at Capital Stage.
Patrons are asked to turn communication devices off upon entering the theatre.
LATE SEATING & RE-SEATING:
Due to the design of our theatre, we cannot guarantee seating for late arrivals or for patrons who leave the theatre during the performance. As a courtesy to our artists and our audiences, late arrivals will be seated in a suitable location by our staff if possible and at the appropriate intervals.
Only concession items purchased in the Wine & Dessert Bar are allowed in the theatre and lobby areas.
Capital Stage is noted for bringing intimate bold productions to our region and we encourage young adults to experience a live performance. Children age sixteen and up are welcome at Capital Stage unless specifically noted in the production’s description.
Seating locations at Capital Stage for patrons using wheelchairs or with a disability are located in the first row. Tickets for these seats may be purchased in person or by calling the Box Office at 916-995-5464.
Restroom facilities are located in the lounge behind the Wine & Dessert Bar.
Brochures and information about upcoming Capital Stage productions and events are available in the box office or by visiting capstage.org.
Capital Stage is a member of Actors' Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.
Capital Stage is a member of Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national organization for the American theatre.
Capital Stage is a member of the National New Play Network, the country’s alliance of leading nonprofit theaters that champion the development, production and continued life of new plays.
Capital Stage is a member of Blue Star Theatres, offering discounts to Military personnel, Military family members, and Veterans.
About The Play
By Stephanie Tucker, PhD
“One summer . . . sixteen-year-old Levi Presley jumped from the observation deck of the 1,149-foot-high tower of the Stratosphere Hotel in Las Vegas.” So begins “What Happens There,” an essay written by John D’Agata and submitted to Harper’s. That prestigious magazine “ultimately declined to publish it after a dispute over the accuracy of its claims.” Consequently, the essayist sent it to The Believer, which would eventually publish it. However, this magazine also requested that the piece be fact-checked. This was in 2005. It is here the play, The Lifespan of a Fact, begins.
The Believer’s editor, a fictional Emily Penrose, whose surname suggests her profession, puts a callout for a volunteer who can spend the weekend fact-checking D’Agata’s piece, so it can make the next edition. In her memo to the editorial staff, she offers a bribe—“I’ll buy [whomever volunteers] a pack of red pens.” Answering this call is young Jim Fingal, an intern eager to help out.
The play, which takes place over 5 days, is based on a fascinating 2012 account co-authored by D’Agata and Fingal, also entitled, The Lifespan of a Fact. Written by Jeremy Kareken, David Murrell and Gordon Farrell, it opened on Broadway in 2018, with a powerhouse cast—Daniel Radcliffe, as Fingal, Bobby Cannavale, as D’Agata, and Cherry Jones, their editor.
Since then it has been produced throughout the world—many reviewers noting its timely debate as to the nature of “truth”. Indeed the debate between the literal-minded Fingal and the lyrically inclined D’Agata exists, but the playwrights have deepened the discussion: does “truth” have to be founded on verifiable facts, or can it arise from more intuitive observations? Not upon what some now call “alternative facts,” but upon more imaginative investigations and/or interpretations?
Other questions the play raises: what is a journalist’s responsibility to their subject? What are the limits of literary license? The relationship between truth and accuracy? Fact and fiction? An “article” and an “essay”?
Set for the most part in Las Vegas, the place a function of which is to blur lines between reality and fantasy, The Lifespan of a Fact takes on the thorny topic of the limits of authorial invention—while dramatizing an intense and deeply felt debate between two determined adversaries—the author and the fact checker.
About The Playwrights
By Stephanie Tucker, PhD
Some challenges are greater than others—for example when asked to write a “bio” of sorts of a playwright—or even two—no problem. Some biographical background on the playwright(s), discussion of their other works—for the stage, the screen (big and small)—and their reception. Pretty straight-forward stuff.
The authorship of The Lifespan of a Fact, however, presents its own challenges. The three names printed on the script’s cover—Jeremy Kareken, David Murrell and Gordon Farrell—belie the genesis of Lifespan, which is multi-parented (if that’s a possibility).
The play itself is based on a peculiarly formatted work of nonfiction also entitled The Lifespan of a Fact, by John D’Agata and Jim Fingal, published in 2012 and based on their exchange of emails during the fact-checking process itself. To quote one reviewer: “Each page presents a triptych: a portion of the essay framed by Fingal’s fact-checking annotations and his correspondence with D’Agata.”
David Murrell read the New York Times review of the book, which fascinated him enough to read the book itself. He was “immediately struck that the form of The Lifespan of a Fact was an argument between two people—the fact checker, Jim, and essayist, John.” When he and his co-authors spoke to D’Agata, the essayist told them “explicitly, ‘This is your play. Do not feel bound by anything in the book. Take it as you will.’” And they did.
The playwrights make up an eclectic trio. Murrell attended the University of Chicago planning to study neuroscience and biochemistry. The University, however, has “a very strong theater and comedy scene. . . By the time I graduated, I was an English major.” He has since written “a sea chest’s worth of TV and film treatments and spec scripts.” He has also written a screenplay “about haunted breast implants,” with Jeremy Kareken.
Like Murrell, Kareken is a graduate of the University of Chicago. He has taught at NYU, the Actors Studio Drama School, and has worked for “Inside the Actors Studio,” for some 20 years. His plays have been performed throughout the USA and internationally. He has also served as a speech writer and policy analyst for two presidential campaigns—his bio is mute as to whose.
Gordon Farrell received an MFA from Yale School of Drama, has worked as story analyst for Warner Brothers and Columbia Pictures, and sold a number of screenplays to many a Hollywood studio. His stageplays have been produced throughout the United States, and he has written The Power of the Playwright’s Vision (2001), which has become a standard playwriting text at colleges and universities throughout the world.
These three playwrights have taken D’Agata and Fingal’s seemingly straightforward and “factual” account of their collaboration—if ‘fact-checking’ can be interpreted as a collaborative act—and created a compelling work for the stage—adding a fictional character and fictionalizing the “actual” ones to create their own very different and compelling version of a tale founded upon actual events.
Anthony E. Gabrielson*
Mari Oyaizu Carson
Samantha McLean Haas
Jim Hensley, President Abbey Flooring, Inc.
Oak Park Brewing Company
Production Manager/Asst. Stage Manager - KATHERINE CANNON*
Technical Director - CARLOS LLONTOP
Lead Carpenter - RICH KIRLIN
Scenic Charge Artist - SAMANTHA McLEAN HAAS
Sound Designer & Engineer - ED LEE
Lead Electrician/Costume Designer - MARI OYAIZU CARSON
Literary Manager/Dramaturg - STEPHANIE TUCKER, PhD.
Stage Manager - MELISSA JERNIGAN*
Rehearsal Stage Manager - ANTHONY E. GABRIELSON*
Stage Management Production Assistant - KAITLIN WEINSTEIN^
Assistant to the Director/Asst. Dramaturg - RAND DOERNING^
Fight Director - DAVID HARRIS
Properties & Sound Assistant - kaden zaldumbide^
Lighting & Paint Assistant - ANDREW FRIDAE^
Costume Assistant - CECILIA CASTILLO JUAREZ^
Front of House & Admin Assistant - NICK RABORN^
Build Crew - RAND DOERNING^, ANDREW FRIDAE^, CECILIA CASTILLO JUAREZ^, RICH KIRLIN, ALEX MARTINEZ, NICHOLAS RABORN^, KAITLIN WEINSTEIN^, KADEN ZALDUMBIDE^
COVID-19 Safety Managers - KATIE CANNON, ELIJAH PETERS, RUBY SKETCHLEY
Graphic Designers - DAN LYDERSEN, MISTY MCDOWELL
Photographer - CHARR CRAIL
Videographer/Editor - MISTY MCDOWELL
Webmaster - MISTY MCDOWELL
^ Capital Stage Apprentice | * Member Actors' Equity Association
Meet the Company
Anthony E. Gabrielson*
Mari Oyaizu Carson
Samantha McLean Haas
ACTORS’ EQUITY ASSOCIATION (AEA)
Founded in 1913, this union represents more than 45,000 actors and stage managers in the United States. Equity seeks to advance, promote and foster the art of live theatre as an essential component of our society. Equity negotiates wages and working conditions, providing a wide range of benefits, including health and pension plans. AEA is a member of the AFL-CIO, and is affiliated with FIA, an international organization of performing arts unions. The Equity emblem is our mark of excellence.
Capital Stage Staff
MICHAEL STEVENSON - Artistic Director
KEITH RIEDELL - Managing Director
KATIE CANNON - Production & Company Manager
MISTY MCDOWELL - Marketing Manager
AALIYAH PETERS - Audience Services Manager
CARLOS LLONTOP - Technical Director
ED LEE - Resident Sound Designer & Engineer
RICH KIRLIN - Lead Carpenter
LOGAN HELLER, CHRIS SAECHAO – Box Office Assistants
RUBY SKETCHLEY – Front of House Assistant
ALYSSA MARIE MATHEWS - Concessions Associate
JAMIE JONES, PETER MOHRMANN, GAIL RUSSELL, JANIS STEVENS – Associate Artists
RAND DOERNING, ANDREW FRIDAE, ANA MUNTEAN, KAITLIN WIENSTEIN, CECILIA CASTILLO JUAREZ, NICHOLAS RABORN, KADEN ZALDUMBIDE - Apprentices
ELIJAH PETERS, RUBY SKETCHLEY - COVID Safety Officers
Capital Stage Board Members
Chastity E. Benson
California State Association of Counties
National Grape Research Alliance
Dan Brunner, Treasurer
Seed Communications Design
Kathryn E. Doi
Hanson Bridgett LLP
Sherry Hartel Haus
Kristi Quesada Mathisen
Sacramento Country Day School
Lori Abbott Moreland
Damaris L. Perez
Mike Tentis, Board President
UC Davis Strategic Communications
California Hospital Association
Stephanie Gularte, Founding Artistic Director
Peter Mohrmann, Co-founder
Jonathan Williams, Co-Founder