Keith Dougherty’s Review of Proof

March 31, 2019

Cornerstone Theatre Arts

Goshen Music Hall.

David Auburn’s thought-provoking play is an extremely engaging character study, skillfully directed by Jacqueline Dion, that left me wanting more.  I left this little gem of a theatre literally exhilarated, and as an actor and director myself, inspired.  Originally developed at the George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick, NJ during the 1999 Next Stage Series of new plays, Proof premiered Off-Broadway in May 2000 and moved to Broadway in October 2000.  Receiving national attention, it earned the Drama Desk Award, the Pulitzer Prize and the Tony Award for Best Play.

As Ms. Dion stated in her curtain speech prior to the play, she chose not to discuss the plot because she felt it would have more of an impact if the audience simply watched it unfold.  I will follow suit with this review, and not reveal too much, as I do agree the less I knew about the story, the more it enhanced my viewing experience.

In a nutshell, Catherine (Heather Roland-Blanco), the 25-year-old daughter of a revered mathematician, has inherited much of her father’s mathematical genius, but fears she has become heir to his “instability” as well.  Catherine’s father, Robert (Ken Tschan) has recently passed away, after she gave up her life and college education to care for him. One of Robert’s grad students, Hal (David Camacho) enters into the equation, and we soon meet Catherine’s sister, Claire (Jessica Markman) who arrives from New York for her father’s funeral.

You will have to find out for yourselves what the rest of the puzzle pieces are but trust me, you will thoroughly enjoy the journey from genius to madness and back.  Stealing from another member of the audience that attended last Sunday’s performance, “The director selected and conducted a symphony of talent in abrilliantly performed production.”  I couldn’t have said it better myself.  As Catherine, Heather Roland-Blanco owned the stage in a true virtuoso performance.

Watching this young actress master this complex character was not only a treat but a privilege.  Her acting chops came across clear and strong and Ms. Roland-Blanco is definitely one to watch.

Also, a force to be reckoned with was Jessica Markman as Claire. Ms. Markman found the levels to this character and demonstrated them seamlessly and skillfully.  As Hal, David Camacho was perfect as the math geek with an edge.  His natural ability on stage kept the audience guessing as to what his true intentions were and he allowed us to watch his character unfold cleverly.  Ken Tschan adeptly transported us on this father’s journey as he brought Robert to “life.” From his playful nature to his unhinging pain, Tschan is a gifted, well-seasoned actor who made us feel every emotion.

In addition to her accomplished and insightful directing, Jacqueline Dion, wore many hats for this production, including simple yet effective light, sound and set design.  Kudos to her and her incredible cast on a show I think I must go see again.

Cornerstone Theatre Arts production of Proof will continue its run through Sunday, April 14 at the Goshen Music Hall, 223 Main Street – 2nd floor walk-up. Reservations required. Call 845-294-4188.

 

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