Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Proof"

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide


"What Happened in Boston, Willie"

Reviews of Current Productions

note: entire contents copyright 2005 by Larry Stark


by David Auburn
Directed by Jack Crory

Set Design by David Arsenault
Lighting Design by Adam Blood
Sound Design by Richard McElvain
Producer Richard McElvain
House Manager Beth Ashton
Stage Manager Victoria Torres
Production Stage Manager James Croasdale

Robert......Richard McElvain
Catherine...Lindsay Flathers
Hal...........Anthony Cascio
Claire....Danielle Desmarais

You have one more week-end to savor a rare theatrical experience: A new company (Theatre Omnibus) in a brand new intimate space (the Black Box Theatre at Watertown's Arsenal Arts Center) doing a dynamite play (David Auburn's "Proof") --- with a cherry on top: an excellent cast headed by Richard McElvain (the best actor in Boston). The new performance space is actually under the auditorium where Rick Lombardo's New Repertory Theatre is in residence. It seats fifty or so, and its intimacy will give you an excellent opportunity to watch excellence in action.

Auburn's play --- that has become a movie, I hear --- deals with the human side of science, tackling such ideas as the virtual absence of women in the field of creative mathematics, the fact that great musicians and innovative scientists often do all their best work before turning twenty-five, and the fine line between true creativity and obsessive madness. These, and the tendency of geeks to be inept at everyday things, like sex and love, form the motor for this beautufully written and performed play.

At its center are father and daughter --- McElvain and Lindsay Flathers --- who grapple with all these problems while dealing with the horror of burn-out, in his case real, in hers a feared potential. The two of them live on the down-side of scientific success, and one of them is already dead as the play begins.

On the back porch of the family home (Designed by David Arsenault) they stand toe-to-toe arguing these ideas, living their fears. Her "normal" sister (Danielle Desmarais) insists on a "realistic" possibility that madness might be inherited, while Anthony Cascio plays an understanding but unsuccessful math-geek of 28 hoping that in their father's dozens of gibberish-filled notebooks there might still be some gems of scientific value.

Jack Crory directed this powerful cast, and it is a joy to watch them collide with one another. There is hardly a pause between lines here --- which means that any real pauses fill with intense meaning. The lowering of tone in a phrase speaks volumes; a gesture, a step, or a flutter of the eyes underscores every word.

This is a polished gem of a play and, as a play and not a movie, it packs added punch because, like everyone in the audience, these are people sharing with the audience their most intimate emotions.

One more week-end.


"Proof" (6 - 22 July)
Arsenal Center for The Arts, 321 Arsenal Street, WATERTOWN MA

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide