The Revelstoke Theatre Company’s newest production give a portrayal of family relationships, romance, mental illness, and death. With such complex issues and heavy emotion throughout, director Denny Kaulback knew he needed a strong cast to pull it off.
“You have to have a good crew to do these stories, or you try something easier,” he said after the first full dress rehearsal of Proof. “This is a real tough one because it has so many emotions, so many highs and lows.”
Proof was written by David Auburn. It premiered Off-Broadway in New York City in May 2000 and transferred to Broadway in October of that year, where it stayed until 2003.
The initial run garnered wide acclaim, winning the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the Tony Award for Best Play. It attracted well-known actors such as Neil Patrick Harris, Anne Heche and Jennifer Jason Leigh. In 2005, it was turned into a film starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Anthony Hopkins.
“What attracted me was it was such a well written story,” said director Denny Kaulback. “I read it and I thought it had everything for the characters to work on. It had conflict, it had love and hate, betrayal. It had all these great things to work on. I just fell in love with the script. I knew as soon as I could find enough people to work on this, I wanted to do this.”
The play stars Anna Pollo as Catherine, a 25-year-old who has spent most of the last five years of her life caring for her ailing father Robert (David Hawthorn), a well-known math genius who was suffering from mental illness.
When Robert dies, Catherine’s sister Claire (Sarah Harper) comes home for the funeral, while Hal (Benjamin Menzies), one of Robert’s students, shows up to look through the man’s notes.
The play is about the intense relationship between Catherine and her father, sister and Hal. Catherine struggles to convince others of her math genius, while Claire fears Catherine is following their father’s own path towards mental illness.
A groundbreaking mathematical proof found in Robert’s desk sparks conflict and mistrust between Catherine and her sister and Hal.
The play is carried by the actors, who are required to convey all ranges of emotions. Pollo, who is at the heart of the plays three main relationships, carries her role admirably. Perhaps the strongest performance is by Hawthorn, who as Robert, appears in several flashback scenes, conveying the struggle of a genius wrestling with his own mental decline.
The play features some cursing and a bit of passionate romance. Kaulback praised the cast and said they were the key to making the production happen.
“I knew what all of them could do and when I saw that and was able to get them all together, this became a really solid show to do,” said Kaulback.
Proof will be performed at the Revelstoke Performing Arts Centre from Apr. 30, to May 2, and from May 7–9. Tickets are $15 for adults and $13 for students & seniors, available at the Revelstoke Credit Union, through the theatre company website and at the door. Showtime is 7 p.m.