Living ‘Proof’

Area residents searching for a production with twists, turns, romance and thought-provoking dialogue may find what they are looking for this month.

The Lucille Ball Little Theatre will present “Proof” beginning on Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. The production will continue on Friday, March 15, and Saturday, March 16, at 8 p.m. and Sunday, March 17, at 2 p.m.

According to Anne Eklund, director, “Proof” is a nice play that is current and is an inspiring story. The play is set in Chicago in the backyard of a home of a mathematician who recently passed away. The story focuses on the man’s daughters and one of his former students. It touches on aspects of life, death, family, love and spirituality, said Eklund.

“Many of us have aging parents that we are taking care of, and it can really hit home,” said Eklund. “There are also some twists and turns along the way – just to keep it interesting.”

“Proof” is a dramatic play written by David Auburn in 2000. It has been the recipient of many awards, which include a 2001 Pulitzer Prize and a Tony Award for Best Play. A film entitled “Proof,” which was based on Auburn’s play, was released in 2005 and stars Gwyneth Paltrow, Jake Gyllenhaal, Hope Davis and Anthony Hopkins.

Auburn’s play depicts the story of a 25-year-old woman named Catherine, who is a bit unstable after spending many years caring for her famous mathematician father, Robert. After he passes, Catherine faces her own issues, as well as dealing with her estranged sister Claire, who comes along to meddle in Catherine’s affairs; and the attention of Hal, a former student of her father. Hal, who is in search of something important that he feels may be hidden in Robert’s 103 notebooks, comes to find that the most significant thing that was left behind was Catherine. Thus, a romance ensues. But, the discovery of a mysterious notebook draws Catherine into even more problems.

The lead role, Catherine, is played by Mary Hoover, of Frewsburg. Hoover, 57, said she feels quite fortunate to have the opportunity to portray the 25-year-old Catherine.

“Catherine is like a tomboy in a way because she never dated and was always home taking care of her father,” said Hoover. “As Catherine I go through a depressive state with a lot of anger because my sister is well-to-do, is condescending to me and makes me feel inadequate. But, I did all the work taking care of my father, which is quite a chore because he was bipolar.

“It’s a compliment for me to play Catherine because my father is 93 and my mother is 87 and she has dementia,” she continued. “So, every morning before I go to work I visit my parents. So, the character is very parallel to my life. I also had a sister named Catherine who passed away, and I take on the name in the part.”

Catherine’s deceased father, Robert, is played by Ralph G. Walton, M.D., of Mayville. Hal, a former student of the late Robert, is played by Adam Owens, of Jamestown. Catherine’s sister, Claire, is played by Tara Chase, of Jamestown.

The set was designed by Norm Merrill, set construction director, and Shawn Bigelow served as technical director.

“Proof” consists of two acts, an intermission and it will run for close to two hours. The show is not intended for young audiences because it includes strong language. Tickets are available for $20 per person or $10 per person for a group of 10 or more by calling the Lucille Ball Little Theatre Box Office at 483-1095. The box office hours are Tuesday through Friday from 12:30-4:30 p.m.

The Lucille Ball Little Theatre is located at 18 E. Second St. in Jamestown. For more information visit www.lucilleballlittletheater.org.