Opening March 15th, Peter’s Alley Theatre Productions’ second show of its inaugural season is Proof, by David Auburn. The Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award – winning drama, is one of the most critically and commercially successful plays in recent years and is oft produced by regional theater companies across the country. But this did not daunt the artists of Peter’s Alley, who have been working tirelessly to create a unique and innovative production of Auburn’s brilliant play.
Director Angela Pirko has given particular focus to engaging a much more artistic and less literal approach to the set and staging of the show. With the collaboration of Set Designer Ashley San, Lighting Designer Peter Caress, and Sound Designer Bruce Hirsch, Pirko is boldly utilizing more abstract, artistic strokes to reveal the mood, tone and themes of the play, while maintaining Proof’s irresistible and powerful realism. The approach is a fresh and daring one, reflective of PATP’s mission, which encourages young artists to challenge themselves and their audiences through their craft.
As evidenced by the title of the play, mathematics is one of these prominent themes, but not in the way one might expect. “The math is outline and scripture of the piece, but it’s the four people moving between the equations that captivate us.” says Pirko. So, although the play is inescapably linked to the world of numbers, Proof is ultimately about people. And with Auburn’s skillful writing, the play presents us with four of the most intelligent, witty and “human” characters to be seen on the American stage in many decades.
The “small but mighty” cast is both thrilled and humbled to have the opportunity to inhabit these complex roles. “This role is a wonderful challenge for me.” says Ashley San about tackling the play’s central character of Catherine. “How can one do justice to a genius character that is living the hell of a stranded soul, adrift in the storm of this life? I still don’t know. Auburn has given us a beautiful story that is so human it breaks my heart.
“Bob Chaves, who plays Robert, Catherine’s genius but unstable father, echoes the sentiments of his co-star, “It’s a challenge for sure. I’m very glad to be tackling the role of Robert. The play will evoke a strong emotional response from the audience, and I feel that we have the cast, and production team that can create an experience that will be thought provoking as well as entertaining.”
Aly B. Ettman is similarly daunted but exhilarated by the challenge of portraying Claire, Catherine’s sister. “Auburn has taken the care to create a character who is ultimately an adversary to Catherine but imbued her qualities of wit and compassion that make her appealing and empathetic in her own right. My goal is to do justice to her and to Auburn’s magnificent script, which for reasons that could fill volumes, is my absolute favorite of all time.”
Matt Baughman, who plays, Hal, Catherine’s suitor, comes to the play with less history, but no less enthusiasm. “It’s interesting. I’ve never seen a production of Proof…or the movie…or even read it before I was cast in this show. But as we go through the rehearsal process, I fall more and more in love with the characters and the story. I think the audience will too.
So, if you are interested in discovering or re-discovering what is quickly becoming a modern classic in American theater, check out this new and exciting production of Proof by David Auburn presented by Peter’s Alley Theatre Productions, March 15-30th at Theatre on the Run – 700 S. Four Mile Run Drive, in Arlington, VA. For tickets, purchase your tickets online.