For the world premiere of The Lifespan Of A Fact, a new play by Jeremy Kareken, David Murrell, and Gordon Farrell, Broadway's first all-female design team is on the job: Mimi Lien, sets; Linda Cho, costumes;Jen Schriever, lighting; Palmer Hefferan, sound; and Lucy Mackinnon, projection. Based on the stirring true story of John D'Agata's essay "What Happens There," about the Las Vegas suicide of teenager Levi Presley, The Lifespan Of A Fact digs into a seven-year debate on the blurred lines of what passes for truth in literary nonfiction. Directed by Leigh Silverman, the play runs at Studio 54 through January 13, 2019. Read about the lighting design and projections.
Live Design: What does it mean to you to be part of Broadway's first all-female design team?
Linda Cho: When I look at my fellow collaborators, I see they were not solely selected for their gender; they were selected for their skill and talent. This means I stand proudly amongst some great theater artists. I also think it means we must accept responsibility; being the first to walk through the door means we hold that door open for the next group to follow.
LD: What was your biggest challenge/solution on this production?
LC: Honestly, I thought my biggest challenge would be interacting with these huge celebrity actors, but I have to say they were some of the kindest and most collaborative artists I've ever worked with.
LD: Can you talk about your process for designing a new play?
LC: On a new contemporary play, one has different considerations in the design process. One expects a great deal of discovery and change throughout the rehearsal process. I still like to begin with costume sketches, so everyone has a place to start the conversation, and my team knows what to shop for. However, I fully expect things to change; sometimes you need to see something on the body onstage in order to be able to articulate what works and what doesn't. So we keep a stock of options to try onstage, save price tags, pay attention to return dates, and budget for misfires.
Stay tuned for more from Broadway's first all-female design team!