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      A LIFESPAN INDICATES A BIRTH AND DEATH, YES? By Thomas Putnam

      facteThis play that's opening on Friday. What do you think of the title? Is it grabbing you? Intriguing you? Making you chuckle? I love to let titles of plays slosh around in my mind. Sometimes a title grabs me right away; other times I wonder what on earth was the playwright thinking.

      We first considered THE LIFESPAN OF A FACT right in the middle of lots of controversy regarding “false news” and statements that really seemed unfounded, or facts that really weren't, by definition, a fact. In school teachers work hard—hopefully—to help kids develop a healthy understanding of opinion and understanding, and how to do the research necessary to report something as fact.

      This play explores much. When is it ok for a writer to make statements that appear to be factual, but are, in fact, not? Or at least not completely. And is there ever a justifiable reason to offer something as fact when it is not. The statement originated, probably, from some kernel of truth. So it was birthed. And then it has a life. And then, does it die? And does it die because it has been proven/shown to not be true, or not completely true? So does a fact cease to be a fact? I know I'm rambling on, but thankfully, theatre has a better chance of exploring such questions in a much more interesting and meaningful way.

      Back to the title. I can't decide if this is one of the titles that grabs me or that I wonder if the playwright could have chosen something better. I have not been able to come up with a better title. And I'm writing a blog about the title, so to some degree it has grabbed me.

      We didn't choose this play because of the title. (Though we do spend some time wondering if a title will appeal to audiences, or will get their attention and make them want to attend a performance.) We chose the play because it's good. It's based on a true story and though the facts of the story have been modified/changed/maneuvered (oh, jeez, here we go...) the fact is that it is based on a true story. A story that others have wrestled with. Considerations that have sloshed around in someone's mind.

      Three characters in this play. Well-defined, interesting, funny, human, smart, complex characters. Juicy stuff. (When I first read it I immediately thought that I would love to be a part of this dialogue!) It's well worth your time and money.

      I'm still puzzling over the title. I'm thinking now that I'm hung up on the birth and death bit, and what I should really be exploring is the life: what's the fact doing when it is alive. Oh, hang it all; just make your reservation for opening night, grab your mask, and we can engage at the reception following the performance. [Note, these characters sometimes say things that are crude.]

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