North Texas Daily

Column: The “Proof” was in the praise

Column: The “Proof” was in the praise

Column: The “Proof” was in the praise
October 03
09:12 2013

Kaylen Howard / Writer Intern

The Studio Theater was packed from top to bottom on the night of Sept. 27 as “Proof,” one of David Auburn’s popular plays and the opening play of the seasons at UNT, played its second to last show.

As the stage lights dimmed and the intro music began, members of the audience looked on in anticipation on the edge of its seats.

“I felt really interested, ready to listen hard,” Cathy Bedford said. “I was expecting ‘Proof’ to be a play about life, but I didn’t know it was going to include math and mental illness. Regardless, I loved it.”

Set designer Rodney Dobbs did a phenomenal job on the life-like set presented as an urban Chicago home.

“We got lucky enough to get a professional set designer,” said Caroline Dubberly, who played the lead character Catherine. “Rodney Dobbs is fantastic.”

With the contribution of seasoned lights, blemish-free complexions and theatrical wardrobe, Makeup Designer Kaci Franssen, Lighting Designer Anthony Miles and Costume Designer Jessica Reynolds contributed to this award-winning drama’s success.

“It is a full collaborative process, but it’s not just one person sitting and cutting between takes,” said Evan Scott, who played Hal. “We have a living cast, director, set designer and set changer. It is a giant amount of people who create one piece.”

Proof is about a 25-year-old college dropout named Catherine who gave up her academic youth to take care of her sickly father. Robert, played by Byron Holder, is Catherine’s mentally ill father who is a very well-known mathematician and professor. Robert’s exotic equations earned him credibility from mathematicians all over Chicago.

Through the hope of her father’s recovery, Catherine came up with a “proof” that could not only change the way mathematicians perceive women in the field of mathematics, but change mathematics for the world.

The title “Proof” does not only pertain to the mathematical theorem Catherine created, but the struggle to prove her genius to her older sister Claire, played by Nicole Smith, an engaged New York business woman, and Hal, played by Evan Scott, a 28-year-old mathematician and former student of her father’s.

Humor, romance, desire, fear and doubt are all themes of the drama and Director Andrew Harris said he chose the play because of the connected morals that pertain to college students.

“I think in a sense that all people in college may not feel good enough to do what they can do,” Harris said. “I believe this play gives the experience of growing up and no one believing in you.”

With a long summer full of determination and math, the cast developed a family-like connection that is common within most theatrical productions.

“I’ve learned a lot from the cast because they are so real and seasoned in their acting,” Smith said.

A lot of time and energy were put into the making of the play. The cast and crew cut their summer vacations short to fully immerse themselves in the details of Proof.

“We were given books about mathematicians, interviewed mathematicians and did a lot of background work,” Holder said. “We studied our characters and the subject matter all summer.”

The results are in, and Proof was a hit. A big round of applause echoed throughout when the last line was spoken. The uproar of the cast members’ family and friends enveloped the studio as the cast took its bow.

“One main thing about this play is that it gives a sense of universality,” Harris said. “Something I believe a lot of college students can benefit from.”

The next play of the season is “Women and Wallace” by Jonathan Marc Sherman, which debuts Oct. 17 and runs until Oct. 19 at the studio theater.

Admission is $5 and tickets can be purchased in room 104 of the University Theatre or by calling (940) 565-2428.

Nicole Smith and Caroline Dubberly, theatre arts seniors, play two sisters that have recently lost their mathematical genius father. Together they created a dramatic family scenario that made the play come alive. Feature photo courtesy of Justin Curtin

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