On the eve of her twenty-fifth birthday, Catherine, a troubled young woman, has spent years caring for her brilliant but unstable father, a famous mathematician. Now, following his death, she must deal with her own volatile emotions; the arrival of her estranged sister, Claire; and the attentions of Hal, a former student of her father’s who hopes to find valuable work in the 103 notebooks that her father left behind. Over the long weekend that follows, a burgeoning romance and the discovery of a mysterious notebook draw Catherine into the most difficult problem of all: How much of her father’s madness—or genius—will she inherit? Winner of the 2001 Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award for Best Play.
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Artistic Director Keith Gerth, Assistant Executive Director Marisa Lerman, and Associate Artistic Director Stephen Smith announce the next production of Oil Lamp Theater’s 2016 season with Proof by David Auburn, directed by Keith Gerth. The show will play for a limited engagement from March 3 through April 3, 2016, at 1723 Glenview Road, Glenview.
On the eve of her 25th birthday, Catherine, a troubled young woman, has spent years caring for her brilliant but unstable father, a famous mathematician. Now, following his death, she must deal with her own volatile emotions; the arrival of her estranged sister, Claire; and the romantic attentions of Hal, a former student of her father’s who hopes to find valuable work in the 103 notebooks that her father left behind. Over the long weekend that follows, a burgeoning romance and the discovery of a mysterious notebook draw Catherine into the most difficult problem of all: How much of her father’s madness–or genius–will she inherit?
Winner of the 2001 Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award for Best Play, David Auburn’s drama examines the conflict between the certain and uncertain, questioning when we should cling to our personal truths and when we should take chances on the unknown. While the rigid rules of science and mathematics can be a comforting constant in an ever-changing world, human relationships are necessary to provide essential empathy and acceptance. The act of exposing our emotions to another person may surpass the difficulty of testing a mathematical proof, but it may yield the incalculably valuable result of trust and affirmation from the most basic of impulses, the human connection.
Set in Chicago, Proof highlights the struggles faced by women in science and mathematics—still outnumbered by their male counterparts, women in STEM fields continue to face gender discrimination and lack of representation in research and higher education. When Auburn’s female protagonist is forced to defend her intellectual ownership of a groundbreaking mathematical proof hidden within her father’s journals, she must fight against societal—and self-imposed—limitations to fully embrace her potential genius. As Catherine acquires a new assertiveness in her personal and intellectual pursuits, Proof demonstrates the power of self-determination in defying expectations and obliterating stereotypes.
“It has been an honor and a challenge to direct a play that is so elegant and beautiful in its simplicity and in its complexities,” states director Keith Gerth. “On one level, it is a story of a father and daughter relationship that challenges the daughter to wonder whether her father not only gave to her his world-class mathematical abilities but also his mental instability. Which leads us to the other key level of the story–what is brilliance and what is insanity? Are those we celebrate for being brilliant and gifted individuals also prone to mental instability? Was Steve Jobs brilliant and a little crazy at the same time? Like the movie Inception, you can experience this play on any level you prefer, like life.”
The cast features Ann Marie White as Catherine, Hannah Williams as Claire, Martin J. Hughes as Hal, and Joe Page as Robert. Traci Cidlik serves as Stage Manager.
David Auburn (Playwright) is an American playwright, screenwriter, and director who gained national prominence with his play, Proof, which received the 2001 Tony Award for Best Play and the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Born in Chicago, Auburn attended the University of Chicago and the Julliard School, where he studied under noted dramatists Marsha Norman and Christopher Durang. His first full-length play, Skyscraper, ran Off-Broadway in 1997. Auburn’s other works include The Columnist, Lost Lake, Fifth Planet and Other Plays, and What Do You Believe About the Future? Auburn has been awarded the Helen Merrill Playwriting Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the Kesselring Prize for promising playwrights. He currently resides in Manhattan, New York.
Keith Gerth (Artistic Director and Director) founded Oil Lamp Theater in 2005. Prior to establishing the Theater, which was located in the Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago, Keith held a number of positions with wide-ranging skills. After high school, Keith was a carpenter for eight years with Murray Countertops in Streator, Illinois. Keith left that position in 1989 to obtain a degree in Financial Accounting from Illinois State University. Keith graduated with honors and began working for the global professional services firm of Deloitte in 1991 and became a Certified Public Accountant. He worked at Deloitte for fifteen years in the Audit and Assurance practice, which he retired from in 2005 at the level of Director. Keith was professionally trained in acting at Act One Studios in Chicago, Illinois. Keith has been actively involved in the community through Chicago Cares and has served as a board officer for The Illinois Fatherhood Initiative and the Glenview Art League. Keith has also served on the board of Factory Theater in Chicago. Keith is married to Carole Flamm. They live in Northbrook.
Performances of Proof are Thursdays through Sundays, with evening performances at 8:00pm and Sunday matinees at 3:00pm. Tickets are $35 and include complimentary cookies and soft drinks. Oil Lamp Theater is BYOB with complimentary corkage and glasses. Tickets are available at 847-834-0738 or online at oillamptheater.org. Group rates are available.
Oil Lamp Theater is proud to partner with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) for the production of Proof. A representative of the NAMI Cook County North Suburban (CCNS) affiliate will provide insights on mental health issues through a pre-show introduction and a brief post-show discussion for opening night audiences, relating themes of the play to challenges facing today’s patients and families. A grassroots organization, the mission of NAMI CCNS is to improve the lives of individuals with serious mental illness and those who love and care for them through education, support, and advocacy. For more information on the programs and services offered by NAMI CCNS, visit namiccns.org or call 847-716-2252.
Proof Cast And Crew
Director- Keith Gerth
Assistant Director- Elizabeth Mazur
Stage Manager- Traci Cidlik
Martin J. Hughes
Ann Marie White