note: entire contents copyleft 2006 by Will Stackman
Reviewed by Will Stackman
David Auburn's Pulitzer Prize play "Proof" is basically a well-made play whose character revelations are driven by a plot twists. Directed by Jack Crory, this current production over in the intimate black box space, Theatre Omnibus' inaugural effort, on the first floor of the Arsenal Center for the Arts, makes the action much clearer than previous star-driven productions in New York. Award-winning actor Richard McElvain, the group's founder, takes the pivotal role of Robert, the unstable brilliant mathematician, whose death after precipitates the plot. At its center is his daughter Catherine, played recent Fitchburg State grad Lindsay Flathers, who's inherited some of his genius, and possibly his instability. A recipient in 2004 of an Irene Ryan Award from the Kennedy Center's American College Theatre Festival, Flathers appeared earlier this season in "Pulp" for Boston Theatre Works and will be seen this fall in Shakespeare Now!'s "Julius Caesar." She captures this character's ambivalence towards life after spending the last several years caring for her ailing father. Another Fitchburg grad, Danielle Desmarais, plays her older sister Claire, a successful currency analyst in New York, ready to take charge now that her father is gone. She does admirably in this rather underwritten role. As Hal, a young math professor, their father's last student, who's trying to sort through the disordered notebooks the old genius left behind, Anthony Cascio, is a believable "math" geek who becomes Claire's lover. The two develop a real relationship onstage which completes the play and clarifies the plot. The play is presented up close for a fifty seat audience in the Arsenal Center's Black Box on a neat set by young David Arsenault, well lit by Adam Blood. McElvain has provided a sound design selected from the Cello Suites of Bach's "Goldberg Variations." The show suggests that the program at Fitchburg State where both McElvain and Cory teach has matured and is producing theatre well worth paying attention to. They'll be taking their production of "The Laramie Project" to the Edinburgh Festival next month, where the group has appeared in previous summers. "Proof" runs one more weekend.