"Proof" explores human behavior

by University Communications,

“Proof,” an award-winning play that explores the boundaries between genius and instability, is opening Feb. 14 at Willamette University.

The play centers on Catherine, the daughter of a well-known mathematician. While fighting to confirm the authorship of a landmark mathematical “proof” discovered among her father’s papers, Catherine struggles with her father’s legacy of genius and mental illness — and the arrival of her estranged sister, Claire.

“‘Proof’ is an exploration of human behavior — the story of a woman’s journey to discover her own identity, one that is separate from her father’s,” director Susan Coromel says.

“The play uses the notion of proof as it applies to mathematics, but Catherine also seeks proof of whom she can trust, as well as proof of her own mental health.”

Written by David Auburn, “Proof” was first produced on Broadway in 2001 and won several Tony awards, including Best Play. In the same year, it won the Pulitzer Prize, Drama Desk Award for Best New Play and was named the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Best Play.

Coromel says Auburn sets this journey of identity in one’s own backyard, allowing the audience to decide what to believe.

“The familiarity of the setting and the characterizations make this story extremely relatable,” Coromel says. “It’s humorous, compassionate, engaging and fresh. ‘Proof’ is an inspiration, and an intelligent, thought-provoking masterpiece.”

Joining Coromel is guest actor Thomas Nabhan in the role of Robert, Catherine’s father and a genius mathematician.


“Proof” is showing Feb. 14 through March 1, with a preview performance Feb. 13. Thursday through Saturday performances begin at 7:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. matinees are scheduled for Feb. 16 and 23 and March 1.

General-admission tickets for the preview performance cost $8, the same as all tickets for students and seniors 65 and older. Matinees are $10 and evening performances are $12.

Tickets may be purchased at the door, by calling the WU Theatre Box Office at 503-370-6221 or by email at thtr-tix@willamette.edu. They are also available at www.boxofficetickets.com and at Travel Salem, 181 High St., 503-581-4325.