The title of Stagecrafters’ upcoming 2nd Stage offering, Proof by David Auburn, refers to a series of steps to prove a mathematical assertion. But ultimately, each complex character has something else to prove in this Pulitzer Prize and Tony® Award Best Play winner on stage October 18th – 27th on the 2nd Stage at the Baldwin Theatre, 415 S. Lafayette in downtown Royal Oak. Call 248-541-6430 for tickets.
An emotionally fragile young woman reeling from the death of her brilliant but mentally ill father, a famous mathematician, wonders if she shares his same fate. As the story unfolds, she finds herself haunted by the memories of her father, smothered by her meddling sister, and in a complicated relationship with her late father’s protégé.
Catherine (Kathryn Pounds of Roseville), herself a promising mathematician, has devoted her youth to caring for her now deceased mentally unbalanced father, Robert (Michael Trudel of Grosse Pointe Park).
With the funeral at hand, her controlling sister, Claire (Kristin Schultes of Grosse Pointe Park), arrives home. The two women find themselves at odds as Claire walks a fine line between being helpful and intrusive. Meanwhile, her father’s student, Harold Dobbs (Sumeet Dang of West Bloomfield), is poring over journals, looking for any breakthroughs the late professor may have had in a lucid moment. His discovery, while a guaranteed watershed in the field, explodes seething tensions and threatens to send Catherine over the edge.
“I love the different kinds of relationships the playwright explores with each character. I also like how Catherine spends time figuring out who she is, who she wants to become, and what her past has to contribute to her future,” says director Kimberly Wallace of Royal Oak.
The show’s title ostensibly references the mathematical discovery Harold makes in the journal. “In its bare bones a proof is trying to test or establish truth around a problem – or really anything,” says Wallace. “But beyond that, each character is trying to prove something throughout the play. The characters go through a series of proofs: Catherine trying to prove she isn't mentally unbalanced like her father, Claire trying to prove she is important and needed in Catherine's life, Hal attempting to be more of a math genius then he really is, and Robert pushing himself to be as good as he was when he was younger.”
Wallace continues, “This is a story that is about real life. We all have struggled with finding out who we are and how we fit in this world. We have all looked at our parents and wondered, ‘Am I going to be like him/her?’ We all have emotional ups and downs and can never settle into complacency. I think in the human situations in the play there is humor, pathos, and grief. Proof gives a taste of real life, our life, to the audience.
To further explore some of the real life issues the characters face, 2nd Stage will offer a post-show talkback after each Saturday performance. Geriatric social worker, Katharine Smith of Jewish Family Services, will focus on how children deal with taking care of their aging parents while balancing their own family and career obligations.
Two special performances are planned during the run of Proof. October 20th is “Sister Sunday.” Sisters or close friends attending together will enjoy the dynamic interaction between the two sisters in the play. Complimentary desserts and beverages will be served during intermission. October 24th is “Half-Price Student Night” for those students with a valid ID.
Proof opened on Broadway October 24, 2000, at the Walter Kerr Theatre and ran for 917 performances to close January 5, 2003. It won three 2001 Tony Awards: Best Play, Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play (Mary Louise-Parker), and Best Direction of a Play (Daniel Sullivan). A feature film appeared in 2005 featuring Gwyneth Paltrow as Catherine, Anthony Hopkins as Robert, and Jake Gyllenhaal as Harold.
Advance tickets for performances are $16 each. Tickets may be purchased online at www.stagecrafters.org (online handling fees apply) or by phone at 248-541-6430 using Visa or MasterCard. All seats are reserved. If shows have not sold out, tickets can be purchased at the box office one hour prior to the performance for an additional $2.00 per ticket. Due to the intimacy of the theatre, there is no late seating. The Baldwin Theatre is located at 415 S. Lafayette, Royal Oak.
Show dates and times follow:
Friday, Oct. 18 8 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 19 8 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 20 2 p.m.
Thursday, Oct. 24 8 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 25 8 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 26 8 p.m.
Sunday Oct. 27 2 p.m.