A few nights ago I met some extraordinary people. We are introduced to Catherine as she sits on the porch of her childhood home seemingly celebrating her 25thbirthday with her dad. She’s pensive, eloquent and maybe a bit tense but moves so elegantly. Robert is a complex individual. His every word is heavy with meaning, and he demands attention. He must be tough to live with, you think. And just as you think that, enters Harold (“It’s Hal, actually.”) Hal is a breath of fresh air with his exuberant smile and excited air. By the time you meet Claire, Robert’s older daughter, you are fully enthralled and invested in this play.
To say David Auburn’s Tony Award winning play “Proof” is wonderfully written is an understatement; the playwright reels audiences in with the clever banter and natural dialogue.
Cape Rep has opened its 2019 season with a great production. “Proof” is a complete package; a well-written play superbly directed by Maura Hanlon with four talented actors uttering Auburn’s script on a stellar set, designed by Ryan McGettigan complimented perfectly by Paul Miller’s lighting. The play is storytelling at its finest; you will be all in immediately.
To be honest any synopsis of the plot may sound uninteresting; don’t pay attention to it. This play will touch you; you will identify with the characters and connect emotionally. Catherine (a luminous Monica Giordano) gave up school and her early 20s to take care of her father. Robert (the spellbinding equity actor Mark S. Cartier) was a mathematical genius and professor at the University of Chicago who struggled with mental illness. Catherine has inherited his love of math; did she inherit his madness too? “Part of the reason we have children,” Robert says with pride, is that “we hope they’ll survive us and accomplish what we can’t.” After his death, Hal (a charismatic Wes Williams), an ex-student of the professor, has asked to sift through the hundreds of notebooks Robert left that are filled with gibberish looking for possible mathematical “proofs.” Claire (the versatile Holly Erin McCarthy), Catherine’s distant sister who supported them financially but never physically, is there for the funeral and to “help” Catherine move forward. Then Hal discovers a revolutionary proof about prime numbers, and the play shifts to proof of authorship. The realistic pace of these genuine performances will leave you breathless.
The detailed set and lighting design (dead plants and piles of leaves, a lit lamp in an upstairs window, the worn wicker furniture, the metal gate and more) along with Robin McLaughlin’s costume design add additional realistic layers to the production. John Gromada’s original sound design is hauntingly lovely. Anthony Teixeira (stage manager), Justyn Eldredge (lead carpenter) and Janine M. Perry (Cape Rep’s production artistic director) also contributed to this remarkable production.
The show is about two hours with an intermission, every minute is precious.
At Cape Rep Theatre
Through June 2, Tuesdays through Thursdays at 7 p.m., Fridays andSaturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m.
Information and reservations: 508-896-1888 or www.caperep.org