June 14, 2005 > For those who love to think
For those who love to think
'Proof' finds an answer
by Heidi Leung
Schizophrenia often strikes extremely gifted people. John Nash, a famous mathematician recently played by actor Russell Crow in the movie "A Beautiful Mind," was afflicted while discovering nobel-prize winning economics formulas. Perhaps, there is only a thin line between schizophrenia and pure genius. "Proof", a stimulating play with a convincing cast, written by David Auburn, is currently being performed by Stage One Community Theater.
The story takes place on the porch of Robert, a famous mathematician, and his daughter Catherine. Much like John Nash, Robert's work contributed greatly to the subject of math, however, he suffers from delusions, forcing Catherine to drop out of school and take care of him. After his death, a former student, Hal, comes by to look through the notebooks left behind by his mentor to see if perhaps, he might find ground-breaking information for his own research.
Catherine, disgruntled and bitter about life, is, at first, suspicious and resentful of Hal who she susupects is trying to steal her father's work and publish it as his own. As the funeral approaches and her sister, whom she never liked very much, flies into town, Catherine finds that Hal may be the only one who cares for her. A relationship develops between the two as they spend time on the porch during an after-funeral gathering. The play then shifts its focus from academics to familial and romantic relationships.
Actors and actresses in this production are very realistic and convincing. Geneva Michaelcheck portrays the depressed and confused Catherine exceptionally well. Her articulate and natural speech patterns communicate desperation, confusion, and anger. In fact, the entire cast is natural in their dialogue. Not once did they make me feel as if they had memorized a script. Conversations flow while connections between characters sizzle with emotion.
David McEwen (Hal) is a charming "nerd". The moment he appears on stage, it is apparent that he is in love with Catherine. His body language tells a story on its own. Richard Weingart plays a very lovable Robert. He's the dad everyone wishes they had - silly, intelligent, and so darling that you just want to pinch his cheeks. Kati Fosselius (Claire), the perfect, overbearing sister has eyes that emulate concern and doubt all at once for her "troubled" younger sibling. Though her character can be annoying at times, one almost feels sorry for her having to support both Catherine and Robert on her salary, while not being appreciated at all for her hard work.
To make a long story short, the audience was so enthralled with the production, that at one dramatic point, an audience member actually screamed out "Nooo!" Though we didn't all say it out loud, I'm sure most of us were thinking just that. Whether you're a math wizard or need a stimulating performance to enchance an evening, be sure to check out this heart-warming and interesting play. Performances are on Thurs, Fridays, and Saturday at 8 p.m. on June 10, 11, 16, 17, 18, 24, and 25, as well as Sundays at 2:30 p.m. on June 12 and 19. Performances are at the Blackbox Theater at Newark Memorial High School 39375 Cedar Blvd., Newark. For tickets and additional information, visit www.stage1theatre.org or call (510) 791-0287.
June 10 - 25
Thursday - Sunday
8 p.m. (Sundays 2:30 p.m.)
Newark Memorial High School
39375 Cedar Blvd., Newark