Finding Proof: VSU Theatre opens new season

·3 min read

Sep. 14—VALDOSTA — Three-and-a-half weeks.

From Valdosta State University returning to classes, auditions, creative designs, building sets, arranging costumes, rehearsals, "Proof" has come together and is ready to debut Thursday in a little more than three weeks, said Melissa Rynn Porterfield, VSU Theatre & Dance faculty and show director.

"We returned, what, Aug. 15 and everything has come together since then," she said, adding the student actors were "off book," meaning they knew their lines, only a few days after being cast in their roles.

"Proof" is a small cast — only four players — but it is an intense and haunting play. VSU Theatre & Dance first staged the 2001 Pulitzer Prize-winning play about a dozen years ago under the direction then of Dr. Randy Wheeler.

Porterfield said the play is about a young woman living in the shadow of her father, a brilliant mathematician who suffered dementia before his passing. She is haunted by him as well as questions of her own genius and mental health.

In addition to the Pulitzer Prize, playwright David Auburn won the 2001 Tony Award for best play for "Proof."

A VSU Theatre synopsis from Dramatist.com delves further into the plot: Following her father's death, Catherine "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 among the chaotic scribblings of the 103 notebooks that her father left behind. Over the long weekend that follows, a burgeoning romance and the discovery of a brilliant mathematical proof draw the audience into the greatest mystery of all: How much of her father's madness — or genius — did Catherine inherit?"

For the past few weeks, their lines learned early, the cast has been delving into the emotions and relationships of the play.

Meanwhile, the creative team has developed other aspects of the show.

Lauren Gorr is the technical director and the student scenic designer for "Proof." Like the cast, she has worked on a tight deadline.

She said she did not know she would be designing the set until about the time she returned to classes at VSU.

She has seen her concept of the backyard of a house go from ideas to sketches to a built set in the Lab Theatre in about a month.

Thursday evening, an audience will be seated in her "backyard" to see what she, Porterfield, the cast and crew have been doing to keep busy the past few weeks.

THE CAST: Annabelle Rose, Susanna Lloyd, Drew Champion, David Bass.

DIRECTION, PRODUCTION: Melissa Rynn Porterfield, director, sound designer; Ruth A. Brandvik, production manager, lighting designer; Lauren Gorr, scenic designer, technical director; Chalise Ludlow, costume designer; Jolie DesRuisseau, stage manager.

VSU Theatre & Dance presents "Proof" by David Auburn, 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, Sept. 15-17; 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 18, Lab Theatre, second floor, VSU Fine Arts Building, corner of Oak and Brookwood. This production contains mature themes and adult language. Reservations, more information: More information: Call (229) 333-5973 or visit www.valdosta.edu/comarts.