June 12, 2021

Proof

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If you want proof don’t take my word – go and see “PROOF”

The multi-award winning play “Proof” byDavid Auburn is the latest offering at the Cayman Drama Society’s “Prospect Playhouse”.

Every production, and I have seen them all this year, has been top standard and I have been glowing with my praise. “Proof” is no exception.

I don’t know where I had been when “Proof” appeared in 2001 and won the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the Tony Award for Best Play. To make matters even worse for me, it was turned into a movie in 2005 starring starring Gwyneth Paltrow, Anthony Hopkins, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Hope Davis.

Paltrow even received a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Actress. All this passed me by.

When I read the CDS’s advertising blurb to promote their production I’m afraid I was not impressed.

How can anyone be entertained about a young lady, Catherine, who believes she is going mad like her father, Robert,, a brilliant professor of mathematics? The play starts with Catherine’s 25th birthday she is ‘celebrating’ miserably with her father, who has actually just died! She cared for Robert through his lengthy mental illness. An ex-graduate pupil, Hal, is upstairs and eventually discovers a paradigm-shifting proof about prime numbers. But who wrote it? Was it in fact Catherine? She says it was her, but sister, Claire, and Hal (who has now stated an intimate relationship with Catherine) do not believe her. Claire is convinced Catherine is going insane and unknowingly to Catherine has sold the family home. Claire want Catherine to accompany her back to New York where she lives with her husband. Claire is a bit of a control freak.

Does all that sound exciting and riveting?

I didn’t think so. However, I was invited to write a critique and so I went with our Publisher, my wife, Joan, to the dress rehearsal last Tuesday.

The first thing I witnessed was the magnificent set. The backyard of an old house. The attention to detail of the wooden fencing on both sides complete with yard broom/rake, is superb.

I also use the word to describe the acting. SUPERB!

From the very moment with Catherine sitting frozen in the backyard of home in Chicago talking to her father, Robert, who has a bottle of champagne in his hand, to the end of the play, two hours later, I was enthralled. I was entertained. I could identify with every one of the four people. All so different in personality but in real life I have met all of them.

Auburn’s play does a great job of exploring each member of the cast’s character, their emotions, their worries and how they come to deal with it all. Initially Claire appears unsympathetic but as the play progresses we learn she has done everything she can for her sister, worries about her and has only the best intentions.

The director, Paul deFreitas, who has done an outstanding job in getting the pace exactly right and getting every actor to reach down into their souls to perform so well, gets it exactly right in his Director’s Message. He says:

“While Catherine is locked into her grief, the script is not morbid – it is light and engaging we will see ourselves. Or at least some moments in our lives, exposed in the characters.”

He, then, lists all the awards.

I spoke to each member of the cast after the performance and immediately noticed how everyone loved their parts.

The main lead, Catherine, was played by Caymanian, Jaci Patrick, in her first major role. She graduated recently from the University of South Florida where she completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and Theatre Performance. She is very talented and it shows with the many changes in mood she has to perform. She told me she was frightened at first with all the dialogue she had to learn. I couldn’t hear one fluff in her lines. An outstanding performance.

Another first major role was from Marc Thomas who had executed mainly only walk on parts before. I do remember his fifteen second appearance in Barefoot In The Park. I kid you not. I did not recognize it was same actor and his delivery and timing was someone who was far more mature than his stage experience. Well done Marc.

Liam Oko, who plays Hal is no stranger to the CDS boards, but he told me the role of Hal is his most challenging. DeFreitas had told the cast they needed to know all their lines before the very first rehearsal as he was going to block with no playbooks in their hands! This had never happened before but he now appreciates the reason why. It has made him perform the role so much better as the lines are now part of him. That showed in his performance.

Last, but no means least, is Kirsty Halliday (known also to us as Kirsty O’Sullivan) as Claire. Kirsty is also an acting coach and she is a full time at The Playhouse as she conducts the acting workshops for both youths and adults. In everyone of her appearances on stage she is commanding, without upstaging anyone. A master at her craft. I was amazed to learn she took over the part with just four weeks before opening night. I never noticed.

Well done Paul, who not only directed but designed and built the set with help from CDS veteran Bill Mervyn. I mustn’t forget his dear wife, Anne, who is the producer – the role described as doing everything else that nobody does.

Excellent job executed by the Stage Manager and the other backstage crew including lights and sound. All very professional.

If you need any proof I am telling the truth – then I urge you to go and see “Proof”. You won’t be disappointed.

Cayman Drama Society Presents “Proof”

Start Date 09 May, 2019

End Date 25 May, 2019

Nights Thu, Fri, Sat

Location Prospect Playhouse

Start Time 7:30 PM

End Time 10:00 PM

IMAGES: Georgina Wilcox

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