Reviewer: Aaron Jorgensen-Briggs
Venue: Malcolm Field Theatre
In David Auburn’s “Proof,” the winner of multiple Tony Awards and the 2001 Pulitzer Prize, higher mathematics serves as a metaphorical landscape wherein the play’s four characters navigate their relationships with each other and their own inner worlds.
The plot centers on Catherine, a young woman whose life has been disrupted by her choice to care for her ailing father — one of the great mathematical minds of his generation — as he struggles with a mental illness that threatens his sanity.
As the story unfolds, Catherine, her sister, their father and his protégé wrestle with essential questions and dilemmas about meaning, purpose, direction, and human connection: What, and who, amidst the uncertainty and adversity of life, can be trusted? And how do we know?
Auburn’s script is beautiful storytelling, approaching its themes and characters with great warmth, wit and curiosity. And Saginaw Valley State University’s Department of Theater production of the play, ending this Sunday, is compelling theater, with superb production design, sensitive and thoughtful direction, and a capable cast.
Megan Meyer’s portrayal of Catherine’s older sister Claire is especially convincing and engaging. But above all it is the standout performance by SVSU senior Abby Burgess — emotionally resonant, natural and rich in texture, elevating the production and enabling a fascinating, moving experience of a complex human story.
Go see it.