From left: Jonah Robinson, Inger Tudor, and Ron Bottitta in The Lifespan of a Fact, which kicks off Rubicon Theatre Company’s 25th Anniversary 2023-2024 season, titled “Truly Yours.” | Credit: Jenny Graham

Ventura’s Rubicon Theatre kicks off their 25th season with a play by Jeremy Kareken, David Murrell, and Gordon Farrell about the nature of honesty in art and objective truth in information. In The Lifespan of a Fact, a writer and a fact-checker clash when they cannot agree on the veracity of statements made in a major piece of writing before it is published. 

Credit: Courtesy

“Are facts and truth negotiable? And do facts necessarily tell the truth?” asks director Simon Levy. “Specifically, in literary nonfiction, does the author have the right, the authority, to change the facts to make it a better story?”

The writer in the center of this conflict (played by Ron Bottitta) is aiming for greatness as an American essayist. “He believes in the singular beauty of the written word, and he doesn’t suffer fools,” says Bottitta. “He’s challenged by the fact that fewer and fewer people get him, and he suspects that his time has passed.” His newest work has the potential to bolster a floundering publication, but it reaches an impasse when it crosses the desk of an editorial adversary: an ambitious young fact-checker.

“I’d been looking for a play that dealt with our world of mis- (and dis-) information, but I didn’t want something too on-the-nose, too overtly political,” says Levy. “Lifespan … deals with how to apply ‘facts’ and ‘truth’ and journalistic integrity … and it does it with humor, insight, ambiguity, and characters we can identify with…. It’s important to me that the characters believe in and fight for their point of view so the audience can decide who they side with, and the audience may, hopefully, even shift who they side with as they journey through the play.” 

See The Lifespan of a Fact at the Rubicon Theatre from October 4–21.


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