BWW Review: PROOF at Hudson Stage Company
There are plays that win a multitude of awards back in the day and become the "must see" event for the mainstream. It becomes the talk of the town and if you are lucky enough to get to see it, you are one of the fortunate and can proclaim bragging rights. "Proof" by David Auburn is one those plays that lives up to the hype and eighteen years later, still is riveting and thought-provoking. Hudson Stage Company has produced a show that is all their own and gives the Whippoorwill Hall a compelling production, not to be missed.
At first glance, it is easy to think that the play is about math, but it goes way beyond that. It is about family, loss, and legacy. The setting of the show takes place primarily on the back porch of a house in Chicago, and that is where the action unfolds for the span of two and a half hours. Dan Foster's direction keeps the pace moving, and the energy is so palpable, it is easy to feel like one is eavesdropping next door as the story unfolds.
The premise concerns a young woman, Catherine, played by Jenna Krasowski (in a finely nuanced performance with sharp cue pickups) who wonders after taking care of her brilliant, yet mentally ill mathematician father, Robert (played by John Wodja) if she too is destined for the same insane
path. She too has inherited his math genius, but with his death, she is left to pick up the pieces of her life. She does not know if her road will lead to genius or a mental institution.
Cadden Jones, as her sister Claire, arrives after Robert's death to take over, by wanting to sell the house and put move Catherine to NY, but she clearly did not have the same relationship with their father and has become quite resentful. To complicate more, Robert's former student Hal, played by Jayson Speters, has been hanging around and going through notebooks of Roberts, but also develops an attraction to Catherine. One wonders if he is truly attracted to her, or just an opportunist.
The acting, staging, and lighting are so seamless, that it is hard to believe that this little show is taking place in a library. All the pieces are in place, so to speak that this show becomes the sum of its parts. You do not have to be anywhere nearly mathematically inclined to appreciate the haunting and memorizing work that is being done right in our little town of Armonk, New York. Do yourself a favor and try to catch this one. It only runs six more times. Brava!
Hudson Stage Company presents PROOF by David Auburn, directed by Dan Foster. Originally produced on Broadway in 2000, the play received national attention, earning the Pulitzer Prize, the Tony Award for Best Play and the Drama Desk Award.