On Theater: Strong, dynamic 'Proof' at WCT

November 07, 2012|By Tom Titus | By Tom Titus
  • The cast of "Proof," from left, Tiffany Berg as Claire, Anthony Galleran as Hal, Tara Golson as Catherine and John Parker as Robert.
The cast of "Proof," from left, Tiffany Berg… (Greg Z. Newcomb,…)

Great plays bring out great performances, even in those scripts rendered over-familiar by myriad local productions. A case in point is David Auburn's "Proof," now on stage at the Westminster Community Theater.

Ever since South Coast Repertory first introduced the Pulitzer Prize winner to local audiences in 2003, productions of "Proof" have cropped up in five area theaters, including the current WCT version. And all have been impressive.

At Westminster, director Lenore Stjerne has assembled a particularly strong four-character cast to interpret this drama about a young woman who apparently has inherited her father's mathematics genius gene — but also may have been burdened with his tendency toward insanity.

Tara Golson, in the central role of the troubled daughter Catherine, delivers a riveting performance, whether interacting with the spirit of her father, edging into a romance with one of his former students or clashing head-on with her well-meaning older sister who's trying to control her life.


As the inquisitive ex-student, the self-professed "math geek" Hal, Anthony Galleran, renders an earnest account, awkwardly initiating the romance and challenging Catherine on points of math, which will be foreign to most playgoers but become crucial in the confrontation.

Veteran actor John Parker digs into the father's role on three levels — first as the sage spirit of his recently departed character, next in flashback as a professorial math guru and, most riveting, a troubled soul whose mind is fast eroding. The latter scene is superbly presented.

Tiffany Berg completes the cast as the older sister, Claire, who genuinely cares for Catherine's welfare yet comes across as a meddling antagonist. Berg contributes a strong and credible performance in this difficult assignment as the only character not consumed by the complexities of mathematics.

Stjerne also designed the attractive setting and devised the fine sound design, which sets the play's mood. Her pacing of the dramatic sequences — especially the last scene between father and daughter — is excellent.

"Proof" is one of the most deeply involving dramas available in modern theater catalogues, and its record of dynamic productions is strongly continued at WCT.


Stellar voices propel 'Memphis'

How many world-class voices can you fit into one musical? In the case of "Memphis" at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, quite a few, including a couple of surprises.

Huntington Beach Independent Articles Huntington Beach Independent Articles