Student actors perform ‘Proof’

It is a Thursday night on the third floor of Ed Landreth Hall. The evening is quickly becoming a wonderful opportunity to witness the formative stages of Theatre TCU’s upcoming production of “Proof” by David Auburn, running from Tuesday to Oct. 2.”Proof” is an exhilarating drama about the struggle of a young woman named Catherine, the daughter of a brilliant yet mentally unstable mathematician. After her father’s death, she encountered many uncertainties regarding her own mental abilities and her place in the world.

The play not only provides psychological intrigue, but also addresses the difficulties involving family relationships, raises philosophical questions and features an uncommon autumn romance.

When asked to describe their own opinions about the play, the cast, without missing a beat, eagerly shared their appreciation.

“It’s very smart and emotionally involving,” said junior theatre major Ian Sinclair, who plays Robert, Catherine’s schizophrenic father. “The play’s structure is beautiful -; it’s almost mathematical.”

Amanda Bass, a sophomore theatre and psychology major, plays Claire, Catherine’s pragmatic sister.

“The whole play is about numbers and facts,” Bass said. “The play bends the lines of reality so that nothing is certain. There is no fact.”

Indeed, the electricity of this Pulitzer Prize-winning drama seemed to circulate throughout the room. A very energetic director, Lee Ritchey, paced the studio floor marked with orange, green and white tape. This makeshift “stage” served as a rehearsal space for the actors who prepared in the studio corners for their entrance, or enthusiastically jotted down notes from their director.

Ritchey, a theatre instructor, made the decision to block the show “organically.”

“I want (the actors) to come up with how they should move,” he explained. “It’s not the most efficient way, but it’s the most creative. It allows the actors to discover things (about their characters) on their own.”

Despite its relatively small size, this simple studio fosters quite a supportive and productive atmosphere due to the ceaseless cooperation of a passionate company.

“It really is this functional family environment,” Sinclair said.

Junior theatre major Cheryl Bellows who plays Catherine, said, “Everyone pulls their weight and brings something new and fun (to rehearsal).”

Although the hard work of these actors is evident and will undoubtedly result in a spectacular performance, there is a great deal of work being done away from the stage and the bright lights.

The student production staff consists of sophomore theatre major Art Beck as stage manager, senior theatre major Sean Urbantke as set designer, junior theatre major Wes Taylor as lighting designer, senior theatre major Erin Radcliff as sound designer and senior theatre major Natalie Jagers as costume designer.

The major goal of these individuals is to create the atmosphere of the play so the audience suspends its disbelief and concentrates on the play itself.

Jagers said she does not want her designs to detract from the play’s plot.

“I don’t want people to walk away thinking about the costumes,” she said.”I want them to be a seamless part of the production that they may focus on the story.”

Sophomore theatre major Josh Heard, who plays Hal, called the play a “testament to passion,” and said many enthusiastic people working together will ensure the play’s success.

For tickets or more information, call the Theatre TCU Box Office at 817-257-5770.