Audiences are in for both an intellectual and artistic treat when attending the Waterworks Players’ production of David Auburn’s hit show Proof. An experienced, talented cast brings to life a smart, tightly-written drama with some surprising twists and turns.
The play itself focuses on the reclusive daughter of a recently-deceased brilliant mathematician. Dealing with Robert’s death is bad enough, but Catherine is also consumed by the fear that she has somehow inherited her father’s disposition towards mental illness. Further complications are supplied by Hal—a young math professor eagerly sorting through Robert’s manic writing in search of moments of genius, and Claire—Catherine’s pragmatic and guilt-ridden sister. The play’s central twist revolves around the authorship of a brilliant new “proof” discovered in Robert’s study, as well as a budding, 4) awkward romance between Catherine and Hal.
The show’s production qualities are excellent. The set is simple and elegantly designed—focusing attention on the actors instead of their surroundings.
Audiences will be able to easily see and hear the action from any seat in the house. Few, if any, community theatres work in a space rivaling Waterwork’s spacious yet intimately-arranged black-box-style theatre.
All the roles are believably and sensitively portrayed, especially during the show’s most emotionally- packed dramatic moments. Linda Sauve (Catherine) does a fine job alternating between moments of fragility and hard-bitten sarcasm and Aaron Willoughby (Hal) is a success playing an engaging self-confessed nerdy math teacher. Elizabeth Whiley (Claire) does an admirable job playing Catherine’s overbearing but well-meaning sister and Dudley Sauve (Robert) often shines in the role of a fatherly genius struggling with bouts of madness. Jay Lynn’s direction is clean and sharp, helping the play’s action stay natural and fast-paced.
Overall, the Waterwork’s Players’ Proof is a clever, well-performed show that demonstrates that, even among mathematicians, the common denominator is love.