The “Proof” Is On the Stage at HSU

Is it love or ambition? Is it genius or madness? And what is the proof?

HSU Theatre, Film & Dance department presents the contemporary prize-winning drama “Proof,” for two weekends beginning April 25.

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From left to right: James Read, Dakota Dieter and Kyle Handziak

This play by David Auburn won both the Pulitzer Prize and the Tony for Best Play in 2001. With 917 performances, it was the longest-running non-musical on Broadway in 20 years. It has since been performed in many countries and more than 30 languages.

A family drama with elements of humor and a love story, “Proof” is also a kind of mystery. “It’s a play that makes you think,” said director Michael Thomas, “but that’s because you care about the characters. The playwright gets the audience involved very quickly. The language he uses is easily understood, it invites people in. ”

It begins on Catherine’s 25th birthday, which is also the day of her father’s funeral. He was a math genius who slipped into mental illness, while Catherine took care of him. Locked in his desk is a notebook with the startling proof of a basic math question that alone would make its author famous. But who wrote it? Only Catherine has the key. Questions of love and trust that will determine her life’s course involve her older sister and her new boyfriend.

The questions that grip the characters and have mesmerized audiences around the world: is Catherine a math prodigy or delusional? Is boyfriend Hal sincere or just ambitious? Is sister Claire caring or controlling? Was Catherine a good daughter? Who really wrote what’s in that notebook Catherine locked away? There are many questions and possible answers—but where is the proof? And does it matter?

Catherine is played by HSU student Dakota Dieter. “She’s a new face locally, and she’s doing beautiful work,” Thomas said. She is joined by veteran North Coast actors James Read and Queena DeLany. Kyle Handziak, who has performed in several plays at HSU, plays her boyfriend.

Lynnie Horrigan is the set designer, James McHugh designed lighting, Glen Nagy designed sound, Marissa Menezes designed costumes and makeup.

“Proof” is presented April 25-27 and May 2-4 at 7:30 p.m., and April 28 and May 5 at 2 p.m. in the Gist Hall Theatre on the HSU campus in Arcata. Directed by Michael Thomas, produced by the HSU Dept. of Theatre, Film & Dance. Tickets are $10/$8, with a limited number of free seats to HSU students at each performance from the HSU Box Office (826-3928) or at the door. For more information, visit hsustage.blogspot.com.