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The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

A prime production

Turner and Anthony Paparo ’18 in a confrontational scene (Photos courtesy of Laura Pattillo, Ph.D.).

SJU Theatre Company opens “Proof.”

The SJU Theatre Company is currently in performances for its spring production of David Auburn’s play “Proof.”

“Proof” only has four characters, but its story is a complex one. The beginning introduces Catherine, played by Gwyneth Turner ’19, and her father Robert, played by Anthony Paparo ’18.

After what looks like a typical conversation between an eccentric mathematician and his daughter, the mood becomes more sinister when Robert tells Catherine and the audience that he is actually dead. Paparo’s subtle delivery of this revealing line took my breath away, and it effectively conveyed the dark subject matter that was to follow.

This dramatic reveal is the first hint at the play’s prominent theme of mental illness. I found myself sympathizing with Turner’s exceptional portrayal of Catherine. She attempts to cope with the death of her intelligent father, but has recurring fears that she inherited more of his madness than his genius.

Catherine also finds herself in a developing relationship between her father’s student, Hal, played by Brett Tillotson ’19, who wants to publish Robert’s mathematical discoveries. Tillotson made me laugh in Hal’s slightly awkward moments, but he also delivered poignant lines that stirred up my emotions.

As Catherine’s relationship with Hal progresses, the audience also sees a decline in her relationship with Claire, her sister who is played by Hannah Field ’18.

At first glance, Claire seems like a superficial older sister, but Field played Claire with a depth that displayed an atypical turbulent relationship between sisters. Turner and Field’s chemistry is top-notch, conveying frustration, apathy, and defeat so tangibly in their scenes together. 

The second act shows flashbacks between Robert and Catherine, revealing Robert’s mental deterioration and his poignant journal entries about his younger daughter. Paparo gave heart-wrenching deliveries here as a father who had so much to give to his child, but did not have the means to express himself.

The cast and crew of “Proof” delivered a commendable performance, with each character quirk and lighting choice complementing the production’s atmosphere. The story is a tough one to tackle, but everyone involved handled it with maturity and depth that showcased their talent.

The final showings of “Proof” will be in Bluett Theater on March 2, 3 and 4.

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