David Auburn’s play “Proof” features four characters and a single setting, but the drama won him a Pulitzer Prize and a Tony Award in 2001 for Best Play. It ran on Broadway for nearly three years, and then went to London, where Gwyneth Paltrow played the main character, Catherine.
From New York to London, the play has now made its way to Reston. The Reston Community Players will perform “Proof” for the first time on Friday, Jan. 21, at 8 p.m., at the Reston Community Center’s Center Stage Theater. “It is just one of those plays that jumps at you and grabs you from the beginning,” said Sue Pinkman, the director.
“Proof” is set in Chicago, on a back porch of a house near the University of Chicago. The plot is set against a backdrop of math and science, dealing with a superior mathematical genius on the brink of insanity. However, said Pinkman, it primarily deals with family relationships. “It is a very compact drama with a lot of humor,” said Pinkston. She compared the play to the movie "Good Will Hunting," but said there is a difference since “Proof’s” main character, Catherine, is a female part, which brings a different point of view to the audience.
Jenny Girardi, a senior at George Mason University and a theater major, plays Catherine. She grew up in Reston and attended South Lakes High School. She said a lot of the play is about Catherine and her relationships with her sister and father. According to Girardi, the play is about what Catherine really wants to do, and how she copes with everyone in her life.
“THE SCRIPT is incredible and brilliantly written,” she said.
Girardi’s first performance in Reston was at the age of 10, when she took a part in a production of “Annie.” She said she felt some pressure to keep “Proof” a spectacular play. She said the cast works really well together, which is the reason why she prefers smaller casts. She added that smaller casts develop relationships and chemistry larger casts often have trouble developing. “It is a beautifully written play,” she said, “that a lot of people will be able to relate to.”
“It is an amazing show,” said Kay Vakerics, a long time friend and member of the Reston Players. Vakerics said Pinkman is a great director and producer and she had been working very hard with the actors to present the play as it deserves to be presented.
Pinkman first saw "Proof" when it played on Broadway, immediately after 9/11. She said it was a quick play, because it was a compact play. It involves one setting, and only four characters, which allowed Pinkman to work on character development with her cast. She said it was important to make characters real, and work within the confines of their personality. She directed musicals and comedies before, and said a drama is a “completely different animal.”
The cast started working on this play before Thanksgiving. “They bring things to the characters you never thought of,” said Pinkman of the actors. She added she wanted to do a compact play, among other reasons, because the Reston Players recently put on a “huge” play, “Mame.” It is a nice change to do "Proof" after a show like "Mame." Pinkman warned that the show does have some adult language, and is therefore meant for a mature audience.
“Proof” opens Friday, Jan. 21, and it will be followed by an reception for the cast and the audience. The tickets for the Friday and Sunday shows are $13 for adults, and $11 for senior citizens and students. The Saturday shows are priced at $15.