Theatre Memphis Opens 2013-14 Season with PROOF Tonight
The first show in the 2013-14 season in the Next Stage at Theatre Memphis is David Auburn's Proof, playing tonight, September 6 - 22, 2013. In this Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning play, a young girl watched her genius father succumb to a mental illness. After his death, a discovery is made that he may have produced in later life a brilliant mathematical proof. His daughter will set out to determine the authenticity of her father's work and her worth while trying to maintain control of her own mental stability.
A beautifully written, moving play, the realistic qualities of the production will be the first local efforts of Jack Yates and Paul McCrae, Theatre Memphis' new set and costume designers, respectively. Yates, who hails from Oklahoma and was most recently employed by the Kalamazoo Playhouse in Kalamazoo, Michigan, has designed a two story home with extraordinary detail and suggested elements to make the space seem much larger than it actually is. "Being performed in the Next Stage, the black box concept kind of frees you up to design, but the space can be restrictive," Yates says. "You have to have the right proportion and suggested elements have to be fairly realistic because the audience is so close. It has been fun."
McCrae, who came to Memphis from Threshold Repertory Theatre Co. in Charleston, South Carolina, has his own set of challenges. "The clothes are a reflection of the situation and the set, pretty much. There had to be a sense of being well-worn, 'lived-in' and almost too comfortable for the lead character," McCrae says. "I also felt there should be subtle opposites for the sibling characters. Like an attraction to the same texture but favoring different styles. After all, they are sisters and they grew up together," he laughs.
Director Tracey Zerwig Ford says the play is about duality ... two men and two women, childhood and adulthood, items and relationships lost and found ... taken and given, hidden and revealed secrets, accusations and confessions, death and life, genius and instability. According to Ford, the characters are consumed with worry and struggling with how to support each other. She says, "The main character, Catherine, is at the same time selfish and selfless as she reconciles her choice to stay home and care for her ill father instead of embarking on her own life's journey. The play tears apart the questions: What do we inherit from our parents through a compelling and complex relationship? What do we learn from those who would love us the most if we could only trust them?"
Starring in the lead role of Catherine is Jillian Barron, a newcomer to the Theatre Memphis stages. A recent graduate of Union University in Jackson, Tennessee, Barron has performed on stage since her freshman year of high school. Her love of Shakespeare led her to perform with a university touring troupe as Rosalind in As You Like It. She is thrilled to now be at Theatre Memphis and she smiles as she relates, "This is the first community theatre that I have worked at that has everything! It has all that a major theatre would have and I have enjoyed not having to supply my own costume." Another aspect she has enjoyed is the meeting of all the people involved in the production at Theatre Memphis. "There are so many. I love getting to know everybody."
Other cast members include another Theatre Memphis newcomer Taylor Wood and veteran Memphis actor S. A. Weakley. Stephen Garrett, who most recently starred in the Lohrey Stage production of Singin' in the Rain at Theatre Memphis, rounds out the cast.