Student production of 'Proof' nears completion

The curtain will soon rise on “Proof,” the college’s 2005 student honors production. The award-winning drama, directed by senior Brian Heyman, will run Tuesday, Nov. 15, through Sunday, Nov. 20, in the Tyler Hall lab theatre.

“Proof” centers on Catherine (Samantha Mason), a young woman struggling with the recent death of her father, Robert (Ryan Powers). Robert was both brilliant and mad—his contributions to mathematics established him as a genius at a young age, but his schizophrenia paralyzed his mental abilities and forged a divide in his family.

Catherine devoted her life to caring for Robert in their home, sacrificing her schooling and future. Her older sister Claire (Jennifer Caruana) moved half a continent away and offered financial, rather than emotional, support. Robert’s death brings Claire home for the first time in five years, and the sisters struggle with the wall of resentment between them as Claire attempts to settle their father’s affairs.

Complicating the matter further is Hal (Ryan Sprague), a former protege of Robert’s whose own career as a mathematician has proven unrewarding. Robert was a graphomaniac who left behind 103 notebooks of compulsive writing, and Hal is determined to scour every one in search of a perfect proof, something he can publish as a final testament to his mentor’s genius. What he finds instead is Catherine.

The romance between Hal and Catherine is put to the test by the discovery of a notebook in Robert’s study. It contains the solution to the world’s most difficult mathematical proof, and its existence forces Hal, Catherine and Claire to question how much of Robert’s genius and instability Catherine has inherited. 

Writer David Auburn penned “Proof” while reading “A Mathematician’s Apology,” G.H. Hardy’s infamous ode to the beautiful and obsessive nature of mathematics. The play won the Pulitzer Prize in 2001, and the original Broadway production garnered three Tony Awards—best play, best actress (Mary-Louise Parker as Catherine) and best director (David Sullivan).

“Proof” was recently brought to the silver screen in a version starring Gwyneth Paltrow as Catherine and Anthony Hopkins as Robert. Hope Davis (Claire) and Jake Gyllenhaal (Hal) also star in the film. 

A preview performance of SUNY Oswego’s staging 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 SUNY Oswego students.

For information or reservations, contact the Tyler Hall box office at 312-2141 or

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(Posted: Nov 04, 2005)