THE LIFESPAN OF A FACT to make Australian premiere with the Melbourne Theatre Company

Hit Broadway comedy The Lifespan of a Fact, by Jeremy Kareken & David Murrelland Gordon Farrella somewhat accurate, sort of factual, mostly true story about the slippery nature of facts – will make its Australian premiere, opening on Friday 21 May at the Arts Centre Melbourne. 

Directed by Petra Kalive (Sexual Misconduct of the Middle Classes), the production stars Nadine Garner (Photograph 51) and Steve Mouzakis (Death and the Maiden), alongside Karl Richmond making his MTC debut in a play about an epic ideological battle over the nature of truth and the value of storytelling.

Petra Kalive said, ‘The Lifespan of a Fact is a funny, fast-paced and urgent play about “truth”. What happens when someone begins to unpick the “facts” to make sure the story is accurate? What happens when the “wrong” facts get in the way of the truth?

‘Facts don’t make a story and facts don’t tell us who we are as humans, but intern Jim is a fact-checker and defends the world as it stands against white lies. When we bend the facts to find an essential truth do we create a rod for our own back? How can storytelling survive when it needs to be unimpeachable? 

‘I am delighted to be working with this stellar cast to bring it to the MTC stage and I can’t wait to get into the rehearsal room!’

About the play: While interning at an eminent literary magazine, recent graduate Jim Fingal is thrilled when his editor offers him a career-making opportunity: fact check venerated essayist John D’Agata’s exploration of a disturbing Las Vegas reality, which is going to press in five days. It sounds simple enough, but when Fingal is still unravelling the inconsistencies and literary liberties of the first sentence three days later, he realises he has a problem. So he does what any thorough young up-and-comer with something to prove would do: he goes straight to the source. It could be the biggest mistake, or the best decision, of his life.

Based on the critically acclaimed book of the same name that was written by John D’Agata and Jim Fingal themselves, The Lifespan of a Fact is a tightrope walk of playful debate on the virtues and vices of creative non-fiction as inspired by their real life experiences.

Petra Kalive is Associate Director at Melbourne Theatre Company and has previously directed Sexual Misconduct of the Middle Classes, Hungry Ghosts and Melbourne Talam (Green Room Award-nominated Best Director) for the Company, as well as Pandora for MTC NOW. She has also worked for Sydney Theatre Company, Arena Theatre Company, Complete Works Theatre Company, St Martins Youth Arts Centre, Monash University Centre for Theatre and Performance, La Trobe Performing Arts Department and the Victorian College of the Arts. Recent directorial credits include: Taxithi (fortyfivedownstairs – Green Room Award-nominated Best Director); Oil Babies, which she also wrote (Lab Kelpie – shortlisted for the NSW Premier Literary Awards); and My Brilliant Career, a musical adaptation by Dean Bryant and Matthew Frank of the Miles Franklin novel (Monash University). Petra was Artistic Director of Union House Theatre from 2014-2019.

The Lifespan of a Fact runs from 15 May – 3 July at Arts Centre Melbourne

For tickets and more information visit

Gabi Bergman

Gabi Bergman is a Melbourne-based performer and educator, and is the current Deputy Editor-in-Chief of She holds a Double Arts degree in Theatre Studies and Film/Screen Studies and a Master of Teaching (Secondary Education). Gabi has always been an avid lover of theatre, specifically musicals, and spends way too much money than she’d like to admit on tickets. Her most prized possession is her crate of theatre programs.

Gabi Bergman

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