Saturday, April 13, 2013

Week 15 of the 52s...Proof

Monday I stopped into the local used bookstore, as I am wont to do a couple times a month.  Since there isn't another bookstore in town for newer books, I usually order those with my Kindle, but I still love having real books.

Sorry.  Digressing.  This isn't about books.

As I'm paying for my paperbacks, I see this intriguing poster on the wall.  The local community theatre group is doing Proof by David Auburn.

I read the little blurb next to the poster about the plot, which sounds really interesting, and better yet, I can buy a ticket right there at the bookstore.  The 52s come to mind.  I love theatre.  I haven't been to a play since leaving Edinburgh, so without hesitation I buy a ticket for Friday night's performance.

UAct, Umpqua Actors Community Theatre.  It's in the Arts Center complex where I walk the dogs most mornings...

All week I'm looking forward to Friday night, then almost bail at the last minute, suddenly nervous about going by myself.  After a bit of waffling, I shrug off the nerves and forge ahead.  After all, the whole point of this exercise is to have new experiences.  Right?

The theatre was very small, only about 80 seats, configured in a U-shape around the stage, though there wasn't actually a stage as the set was built right on the floor: a back porch and a little patio with a table and two chairs.  The folks in the front rows were within ten feet of the actors; too close for me so I sat in a corner at the top of one tier, giving me a perfect place to not only see the performance, but also to watch the people in the audience.  I'd taken my camera, though realized from reading the playbill that cameras weren't allowed, a fact the director reiterated when he introduced the play.  So, no insider photos for this week's post.

The Pulitzer Prize winning drama is about love and family dynamics as the story unfolds on the back porch of an old house in Chicago.  There are only four characters: cryptic 25-year-old Catherine, her really manipulative sister, Claire, their mathematical genius father, Robert, and Hal, one of his ex-grad students from the University of Chicago.

In a nutshell:  The father was a brilliant mathematician until he went crazy.  Claire has moved to NY and left Catherine to take care of him, forcing her to drop out of school and put her life on hold.  The dad dies, and Hal comes to go through his books and papers. He has always had a thing for Catherine, but has never acted on his feelings...until now. They spend the night together, then Claire shows up for the funeral and over the course of her visit pretty much convinces Catherine that she has inherited their father's madness.  Then a proof is discovered that could change the mathematical world, but when Catherine says it's her work, no one believes her.  Heartbreak ensues, encouraged by horrid Claire, but in the final act, there is hope, and a chance at love.

The acting was really good, the set design was amazing for such a small space, and the story was laugh-out-loud funny at times, very poignant, and totally entertaining.  I loved it.

This was one of my favorite Weeks of the 52s, for sure.


  1. I might have to check this out. Or even see if they've got the film at the library.

    Still, I want to know what the blurb says...

    1. Okay, here's what it says on the poster:

      "An exhilarating and assured new play...accessible and compelling as a detective story"

      What really caught my interest though was the short review done by the local newspaper which was tacked next to the poster on the wall. Basically: dysfunctional family, crazy people, love and redemption. There's a play I just had to see! ;p

  2. I'm always looking for new reads so I shall check this out :)

    1. If the book is as good as the play, it would be a great read.