One of the most recent theatre productions I’ve watched was this really thought-provoking straight play staged by Broadway Youth Cebu. The piece is entitled “The Lifespan of a Fact,” a Broadway production based on the book by John D’Agata and Jim Fingal.
As a writer and avid theatre enthusiast, I felt utterly connected to both the story and the piece as a whole. It kind of hit home, giving me semi-war-flashbacks of the days I used to work full-time in the media. The plot has the ability to evoke a sort of resonance to writers and readers as it tackles the issues of fact versus creativity as applied to a published essay.
It follows the exchanges between a writer, his editor and a fact-checker as they navigate polarizing debates on the perspectives of truth. Witty, comedic and packing a punch for the thinking audience — the play is well-written and well-executed with its lean cast of only three actors.
It poses the question: How much technical fact can be sacrificed in the name of creative freedom in a way that can still be claimed as ethical? Beyond the question of journalistic standards, it delves into a discussion of what constitutes the truth and who gets to decide it.
The banter between characters was like a ping pong match of two ideologies — imagine how intense discussions can get between a creative writer and a fact-checker, with the editor as the acting referee.
With every turn of the script, BYC’s cast members Jay Chan II, Clariza Mae Sevilla and Arnel Pahang bring the characters (Jim Fingal, Emily Penrose and John D’Agata) to life with their portrayal of very real people — captivating the audience to be even further invested in the plot and the thoughtful question it imposes.
At the forefront of the creative team are Allan Nazareno and Everild Catugal as co-directors, Rhodamie Chan as production manager and Sevilla, one of the cast members, as assistant director. It also features sound operation work done by Zoe Nazareno.
As the Philippine premiere of a riveting contemporary play, the show is definitely something to catch for the thinking audience.
Seats are currently on sale for the shows on Feb. 17 and 18, with discounted prices if you message the Broadway Youth Cebu Facebook page.
Let Broadway Youth Cebu’s “The Lifespan of a Fact” pave the way for more meaningful pieces staged by the Cebuano youth for the Cebuano audience. And, if you haven’t seen one like it yet, let this one be your first.