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The ‘Proof’ is in the performance

February 21, 2013

First year theater graduate students Sarah Flanagan, as Catherine, and Aaron Michael Anthon, as Hal, discuss the proof and reconcile with each other after earlier events. – Submitted photo

 

ALICE ESSIEN
Staff Reporter

 

Directed by Paul B. Crook, associate professor of acting and directing, the cast and crew of “Proof” dazzled audiences.

 

“Proof” is the tale of a woman struggling to come to terms with the possibly dangerous legacy of her late father. The award-winning stage play by David Auburn tells the story of Catherine (Sarah Flanagan), a woman in her late 20s who is strongly devoted to her father, and Robert (Jacob D. Guinn), a well-known mathematician.

 

While Robert’s talent in the world of numbers still appears to be strong, his grasp on reality begins to slip away, and as Robert descends into insanity, Catherine begins to wonder if she may have inherited her father’s mental illness along with his mathematical genius.

 

After Robert’s passing, Catherine is confronted by Hal Dobbs (Aaron Michael Anthon), a gifted but obsessive student of Robert’s, who wants to look through the late man’s notes in hopes of finding his last great work.

 

While Catherine is hesitant to look too deeply into her father’s work from fear of what it might suggest about her own future, she allows Hal to do so. When one notebook reveals a mathematical proof of potentially historic proportions, it sets off shock waves in more ways than one.

 

Flanagan gave a virtuous performance as Catherine. She embodied the role of a young adult struggling with the pressure of making life decisions while also suffering from the fear of being a Schizophrenic.

 

Anthon’s performance as Hal Dobbs was witty and typical; but nothing less of entertaining. His portrayal gave the plot an interesting insight on the aspects of sexism in educational institutions.

Senior theater major Jake Guinn, as the father Robert, and first year theater graduate student Sarah Flanagan, as the daughter Catherine, share a sweet moment between each other as he reassures her that she will be alright despite her fears.

 

“Proof” also stars Molly Page as Catherine’s well-meaning but superficial sister, who doubts Catherine’s ability to take care of herself.

 

Page’s stage persona as Claire was the dynamic that held the story together. She brought comedy and drama to the theatric performance by emphasizing her character’s overbearing, sisterly duties.

 

The most remarkable performance of the night was given by Guinn. From groans of bodily ailments to stiff motor skills, he embodied every aspect of an elderly, deranged mathematician. Guinn’s portrayal of Robert brings eerie mystic to each scene as he roams the stage hauntingly.

 

 

“Proof” takes place in the windy city of Chicago in the early days of September.

 

The production team did a marvelous job of making sure the set and characters illustrated aspects of Chicago autumns. The stage lighting reflected off the characterized backdrops to resemble the colors of fall leaves. Each scene took place on the back porch of the families’ old worn-out house, so the characters’ costumes and mannerisms depicted chilly autumn days and nights.

 

The most intriguing element of the production may have been the freshman flutist Abigail Machowski.

 

Her musical talent blossomed throughout the theater, setting the mood and tone of the production as well as provoking the emotions of the audience.

 

Overall, the production team produced a magnificent show. Every aspect of production was superb from the trashy backyard set to the diligent ushers. The School of Performing Arts and theater department delivered another successful production sure to gain them critical acclaim.

 

Email comments to eae008@latech.edu.

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