Princeton play is ‘Proof’ that theater is alive

By Alyssa Sanford
Correspondent

If you were to ask me what entertainment event got me buzzing this past week, oddly enough, I wouldn’t tell you that it was one of Miley Cyrus’s latest publicity stunts. No, right now I’m still thinking about “Proof,” a smart and witty play that I saw for the first time last week, now running at Princeton’s McCarter Theatre.

Great talent comes from small places. (AP Photo)

Don’t let the title and the elaborate mathematical equations adorning the playbill frighten you. The play, while tackling issues such as family loyalty and the repercussions of inheriting immense mathematical genius, is actually quite approachable for the average audience member.

The script is loaded with sharp dialogue and witty banter, and it’s enough to make you forget for a moment that you’re watching a play about a young woman who fears she has inherited both her father’s intelligence and insanity.

Directed by recent Tony Award winner Emily Mann and performed by a talented cast of four, the play is immensely entertaining. Despite the fact that the opening scene depicts the heroine, Catherine, speaking to the ghost of her recently deceased father, the actors found a way to give the scene some levity.

Within the first five minutes, they were cracking jokes about insanity and depression, which are surprisingly hysterical. Of course, there are emotionally charged moments, too, but they reveal so much about the neurotic heroine and her deep connection to her father.

Equally as impressive as the performance was the set. Although the entire play took place on the back porch of an apartment in Chicago, the set was intriguing. The back wall was designed to look like a giant chalkboard, covered with hundreds of proofs and scribbled notes. Overall, the effect was arresting, though it did not detract from my experience watching the play.

I can imagine that some people will not understand the allure of going to see a play, despite the rave reviews and critical acclaim. But there is something about live theater and being part of an enraptured audience that just cannot be replicated in film.

Each time I’ve gone to McCarter Theatre, I have always been completely blown away by the quality of its productions, and “Proof” was certainly no exception. Whether or not you are a math major or a theater buff, it is definitely worth taking the short trip to Princeton to see.

“Proof” will continue to run until Sunday, Oct. 6, at the Berlind Theatre at McCarter in Princeton.