Students collaborate on 'Proof' production

Scene from Proof rehearsalThe process of bringing “Proof” to the Oswego stage has been highly collaborative. The Tony Award- and Pulitzer Prize-winning play, which tackles the fine line between genius and madness, is this year’s student honors production.

It will open Wednesday, Nov. 16, in the Tyler Hall lab theatre.

The honors slot is the theatre department’s annual student-directed, student-designed production. In past years, students applying for the position of director selected and proposed a play. Now the theatre department faculty chooses the play in advance and use it in directing courses.

Students enrolled in directing courses last year staged scenes from “Proof.” This familiarized the students with the play, enabling any who were interested in working on the honors slot to begin developing their vision early.

After the application process, student director Brian Heyman learned of his selection at the end of the spring semester. His first step was to appoint a stage manager, Samantha MacArthur. They then began working with fellow students who include lighting designer Heather Berg, set designer Ian Guzzone and costume designer Sara Chobot.

For Heyman, a senior theatre and broadcasting major from Smithtown, the main benefit of directing the honors slot is its collaborative nature.

“The best part about theatre is working with other people, seeing what they bring to the table,” he said. “You get some great surprises.”

Over the summer, Heyman and the designers collaborated electronically about their individual hopes for “Proof.” They e-mailed suggestions to each other in the form of music, images and ideas. When the fall semester began, they assembled the results of two months of researching and brainstorming, eventually developing one common vision.

Audiences can expect a uniquely designed production, Heyman said. The lab theatre is also known as the “black box” theatre because it is designed to allow for a number of staging variations—a new stage is built for every production. This means that everything from the shape of the stage to the placement of the audience can be individualized according to the needs of a show.

“Proof” is being performed on a thrust set, meaning that the audience will surround three-quarters of the stage in a smaller, more intimate setting than traditional proscenium staging.

A preview performance of “Proof” will begin at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 15, with all seats $5. A talkback, led by SUNY Oswego faculty members Laura Hess-Brown of psychology and Sue Fettes of mathematics, will follow.

Subsequent performances will begin at 8 p.m. Nov. 16 to 19, with a 2 p.m. Sunday matinee on Nov. 20. Tickets are $10 for adults, $9 for seniors and students, and $7 for SUNY Oswego students.

For information or reservations, contact the Tyler Hall box office at 312-2141 or
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PHOTO CAPTION: ‘Proof’ work—Ryan Sprague (left) as Hal, Samantha Mason as Catherine and Ryan Powers as Robert rehearse a scene from “Proof,” SUNY Oswego’s student honors production this fall.

CONTACT: Kelly Cullinan, 312-3097

(Posted: Nov 02, 2005)