PW brings simplicity to Broadway hit ‘Proof’

By
Friday, September 29, 2006

Production Workshop’s barebones rendition of David Auburn’s critically acclaimed “Proof” recasts the blockbuster hit with graceful simplicity. Winner of a Pulitzer Prize and multiple Tony Awards, “Proof” has come to epitomize Broadway glamour and has even made it to the big screen.

But PW’s production, directed by Adam Keller ’07, offers a new take on this often overdone hit. His refreshingly unglamorous version teases out the decidedly complex and moving emotional drama of Auburn’s work, reminding theatergoers of the redeeming qualities hiding beneath the hype.

Keller told The Herald he initiated the project even though he had never seen a production of the play. He said the widespread acclaim afforded “Proof” originally encouraged him to read it.

The play centers around four characters whose relationships and personal eccentricities gradually reveal themselves in a humorous fashion. The plotline chronicles an intense and conflicted father-daughter relationship through a series of characters’ memory flashbacks.

Bryn Gonzales-Ellis ’09 plays Catherine, a 25-year-old college dropout who has spent the past few years caring for her recently deceased father, played by Michael Dean ’08. Dean’s character, who appears in flashbacks, is an ingenious math professor who suffers from a somewhat hidden schizophrenic dementia.

Lisa Lokshin ‘06.5 plays Claire, Catherine’s older sister, who has returned to help handle her father’s funeral arrangements. Boaz Munro ’09 plays Hal, one of the father’s former math students.

Though it lacks concrete action at times, “Proof” does not drag. Gonzales-Ellis successfully captures Catherine’s recklessly sarcastic sense of humor and harnesses her character’s emotional volatility into a high-energy performance.

The most noteworthy performance comes from Munro, who manages to express his character’s nerdy exuberance and romantic reticence in a convincing way.

Despite these impressive individual performances, the ability of the ensemble as a whole is what captures the intellectual intensity and drama of “Proof” and makes it such a successful production without the flashiness of a typical Broadway show.