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a Drama
by David Auburn

COMPANY : Holly Theatre [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Holly Theatre [WEBSITE]
ID# 1599

SHOWING : April 07, 2006 - April 22, 2006



On the eve of her twenty-fifth birthday, Catherine, a troubled young woman, has spent years caring for her brilliant but unstable father, a famous mathematician. Now, following his death, she must deal with her own volatile emotions; the arrival of her estranged sister, Claire; and the attentions of Hal, a former student of her father's who hopes to find valuable work in the 103 notebooks that her father left behind. Over the long weekend that follows, a burgeoning romance and the discovery of a mysterious notebook draw Catherine into the most difficult problem of all: How much of her father's madness—or genius—will she inherit?

Director Colleen Quigley
Hal Jamie Fambrough
Claire Jennifer Rager
Robert Foy Tootle
Catherine Valerie West
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The "Proof" is in the weird dinner theater pudding...***4.75**
by mooniemcmoonster
Monday, April 24, 2006
This is the closest to a ¡§5¡¨ show that I¡¦ve seen since I¡¦ve started reviewing shows. It wasn¡¦t perfect. There were a few little things that bothered me, but I don¡¦t want to bog this review down with those little details.

Valerie West was absolutely amazing as Catherine. I read this play shortly after it was published and I was so moved by it that I immediately thought ¡§I MUST DO THIS SHOW¡¨. Scheduling conflicts prevented me from even auditioning for this production, but this is one of the VERY few instances where I¡¦ve gone to see a show that I love so dearly and watched someone take on a character that I connected to on such a personal level when I read the script that I didn¡¦t leave with a laundry list of choices the actor made that I wouldn¡¦t have made (or vice versa) as an actor. It¡¦s a sad statement about the state of live theatre today, but true¡Kits extremely rare to see an actor completely lose themselves in a character, and even more rare when an actor is a friend of yours. You notice things particular to your friend peaking through the performance that you know weren¡¦t conscious choices. That was not Valerie up there¡Kit was Catherine. I can¡¦t stress enough how amazing this performance was.

Foy Tootle might just be my new favorite actor. As an actor is it so inspiring to see another actor attack the material the way that Foy did. The show itself is very conversational¡K add to that the fact that the character weaves in and out of insanity not only within the course of the play, but the course of a scene or a speech and you¡¦ve got a huge challenge. You could see the shifts in and out of madness with his body, you could see it in his eyes, you could hear it in his voice¡Ksometimes it was blatant and sometimes it was subtle, but it was there and it was real and it was breath-taking and it was heart-breaking. His performance reminded my why I became an actor. In speaking with the cast during the rehearsal process they said that they fed off of his manic energy and ability to really command the conversational style that the dialogue is written in and now I know exactly what they were talking about.

Jamie Fambrough was perfect as the nerdy math student/love interest. This is probably the best I¡¦ve ever seen Jamie on stage. And yes, Holly Ghost¡Khe¡¦s a nerd in real life, but I¡¦m not sure that he¡¦s quite that nerdy ƒº

Again, Jen Rager was the best I¡¦ve seen her. You could tell that she was the least experienced of the bunch, but you could also tell that she learned a lot and she¡¦s getting better and better. She held her own¡Kand in this group that¡¦s saying a lot.

It¡¦s a darn shame this show has closed, but I hope this foray into contemporary drama is something that is going to be continued. There is a lot of amazing work being written today and it needs to be seen and if this show is any indication, the Holly might just be the best place to see it.
'Proof' proves perfect!
by Holly Ghost
Monday, April 24, 2006
If A = a beautiful script, B = a talented cast, and C = amazing direction, then the sum of these exponents is The Holly Theater's production of "Proof." To my knowledge, the Holly hasn't really tackled a contemporary drama to date, but it's something they should certainly do more often.

"Proof" centers around Catherine, 25, who has to adjust after her talented father's death. Over the course of a week, relationships are created, broken, and finally changed forever as she accepts her genetic predispositions for both brilliance and madness. Auburn's script is refreshingly blunt, with little excess dialogue. Every line pushes the story forward. Funny at times, but strikingly poignant most often, it was an 'honest' script. I don't think there was a single person that left without identifying with the characters.

Valerie West, one of the Holly's hidden gems, was breath-taking as Catherine. There wasn't a moment when I saw Valerie peeking out from her character. She was totally engrossed, and engrossing. I've never seen someone so totally take on a role before. It was simply amazing. Her pain, joy, confusion, etc. was felt by each and every person in the audience. Her last major role being that of Sister Robert Anne in Nunsense last spring, Catherine was a bit of a switch, but Valerie certainly proved she could handle it, effortlessly. She should have gotten a standing ovation just for memorizing so many lines...

The rest of the cast I lump together, simply because the show really is Catherine and everyone else. Jamie Fambrough once again shows that he is perfectly comfortable in either comedy or drama, his character Hal having its share of both. I get the sense that Jamie very well is a geek in real life. If that thought is incorrect, I mean no disrespect. Simply that as the geeky Grad student, Jamie really plays the part quite convincingly. Jennifer Rager plays Claire, Catherine's older sister. I wonder if Valerie and Jennifer really are sisters separated at birth, because the fights were positively amazing. Jennifer's comments and slightly snobbish attitudes were perfect. I hope to see Jennifer in future productions for sure. Then there's Foy Tootle as Robert, Catherine's dead father. I am almost at a loss for words. Foy was able to capture a man at war with himself, literally. His facial expressions during scenes where he struggles to keep his mind intact were nothing short of brilliant. Watching his character 'decompose' almost, it really was both awe-inspiring and frighteningly painful to watch. I don't know where Foy came from, but don't let him get away!

And finally there's Colleen Quigley, director. With such an intimate setting, the play almost came across as a film, playing itself out with detail. Everything seemed to just blend, the actors, the music, the lighting, the set, everything. And though the action in the play isn't very complex, there was a sense of layers, of everything having more than one meaning, of ordered chaos. It was mind blowing how simple actions meant so much more in this production. It couldn't have been an easy journey. But the results were incredible.

I know the show has closed, and to be honest that might be the biggest tragedy of all, but I felt it my duty to report on the show and its success. My highest congratulations and kudos to the cast and crew. If you missed out on this show, its quite possible that you missed the best show that the Holly has produced. I give out 5's only to those shows that I can find absolutely no fault with. That being said, I gladly bestow a 5 on the Holly's "Proof." You have more than earned it. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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