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The Blue & Gray Press | December 16, 2017

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Students Prove Their Worth in ‘Proof’

CAITLIN COGGINS

When senior Kirk Jacobson found out he only had about four weeks to memorize and perform David Auburn’s “Proof,” the Pulitzer Prize winning play, he was a bit intimidated. But from the very first read-through he and his fellow actors knew that they had to “hit the ground running and go.”
“Proof,” besides Jacobson, starred seniors Mary Pilger and Laura Stelling, and sophomore Paul Morris. Despite the somewhat short rehearsal time, “Proof” opened this past weekend without a hitch, and impressed audiences.
Junior Tiffany Douglass stated, “I thought the storyline of ‘Proof’ was really well-written. I also thought that the actors did an excellent job of executing the intensity of the script. The play really showed the diversity of human emotion and the complicated nature of family relationships. I am really looking forward to everything else that the UMW Theatre Department is going to be offering this semester.”
Winning the Pulitzer Prize in 2001 for Drama, and also the winner of the 2001 Tony Award for Best Play, the actors knew they were working with a unique and innovative script. The play was chosen at the end of last year to be the fall play, but was not put into production until the beginning of the fall 2007 semester.
The play itself tells the story of twenty-five year old Catherine, played by Pilger. At the prime of her brilliant academic career, Catherine was forced to drop out of school and quit the pursuit of her mathematic brilliance in order to care for her genius, but clinically insane father, Robert, played by Jacobson.
Upon Robert’s death, Katherine is forced to confront her own demons and begin her own life. Forcing her to face both her own shortcomings and her brilliance is her sister, Claire, and friend and student of her father, Hal, played by Morris. As the plot progresses, Catherine must come to terms with exactly how closely she is following in her father’s footsteps, both with his brilliance and his insanity.
Wonderfully directed by Helen M. Housley, about whom Jacobson stated “had a strong vision the entire way through, which really made it easier for us.” The lighting design was created by senior David Spry, which really helped to transport audiences into the situations and scenes that the performers were acting out on stage.
Overall, the entire production of “Proof” was flawless. The time and energy put into the play by the actors and the Theatre department was clear in the overall product. All four of the actors did an excellent job conveying the different motivations and obligations of their characters.