On Thursday, Nov. 8 through Sunday, Nov. 11, Springfield College will be presenting a theater performance titled Proof. The shows will commence at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, and the weekend will conclude with a 2 p.m. matinee performance on Sunday. All four performances will take place in the Fuller Arts Center and are part of the 2012 William Simpson Fine Arts Series.
Proof will be directed by Springfield College Professor of Theater Arts Martin Shell. Proof is a compelling and personal story dealing with love, family and self-realization written by Pulitzer Prize winning playwright David Auburn.
Proof ‘s cast features the lead Elena Gasparri (Catherine), director Martin Shell (Robert), Katie Nulle (Claire) and Nick Sorrentino (Hal). The performers in Proof have embraced the challenges that come with having a small cast. Due to the size of the production, Shell has stressed the importance and execution of each role more so than in the past. He feels that the cast and crew have prepared exceptionally well for the upcoming performances.
“We’ve been rehearsing for seven weeks, and we’ve become a tight-knit family,” said Shell.
The play focuses on Catherine, the younger daughter of a brilliant and aging mathematician. Robert, the mathematician, has grown ill and mentally unstable in recent years. At the outset of her father’s illness, Catherine decided to return home to Chicago to care for her aging father. Catherine eventually befriends Hal, a mathematician who happens to be one of her father’s former students.
Once Hal and Catherine become friends, the plot begins to take shape and subsequently unfolds. Catherine has to struggle with Hal’s growing affection for her, the grasp of her controlling sister, Claire, and her own self-doubts. Catherine begins to realize that she has clearly inherited her father’s mathematical talent, but wonders if she has inherited his mental instability as well.
Shell feels that the play will be well received by the audience(s).
“This is a very human and caring play. Though they struggle, all of the characters are trying to fix things and make things go right. The story is essentially about trust, how to give it, how to receive it and how to test it when you need to,” Shell explained.
Shell also commended the work of Gasparri in her first lead role.
“She’s tough and knows herself and can really take charge. Elena has acted for SC Theatre before, and when I was looking for the next play to produce, I was looking in part for a role to challenge Elena, and this one does.”
To her credit, Gasparri has met the challenges of a lead role with hardly the bat of an eye. Between a full class schedule and seven consecutive weeks of rehearsal, she hasn’t missed a beat. She is quick to credit her fellow cast and crew members as equally critical to the success of Proof.
“It’s been really great. It’s actually been a little weird, because almost every day, someone has asked me about it. I guess it’s just a little weird having my face on posters all over campus. I’ve really enjoyed the entire experience though, and everyone has been working incredibly hard,” said Gasparri.
On all accounts, Proof is an emotionally compelling story that many can relate to.