Stage greenhorns tackle `Proof’

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m.“It’s a serious topic about parents who fail and what that means to the children who may or may not have inherited those traits,” Lee said. “I think it’s something a lot of people are wrestling with.” The play was first shown in 2000, and the Broadway production won a Tony Award for Best Play in 2001. The script also won a Pulitzer Prize for Drama. In 2005, the show was made into a movie starring Gwyneth Paltrow, Hope Davis, Jake Gyllenhaal and Anthony Hopkins. Paltrow was nominated for a Golden Globe for her performance. “Proof” tells the story of Catherine, a young woman who left college at Northwestern to take care of her mentally ill father, Robert. As the play opens, Robert has just passed away. Catherine finds a mathematical proof authored by her father, who in his early years was a mathematical genius. Catherine is left to grapple with the death of her father and the chance that she has inherited his illness, as well as her relationship with love interest Hal and her sister Claire, all while trying to prove who truly wrote the paper she discovered. Four amateur actors will try to “prove” their talent as their first show together opens this weekend at the Whittier Center Theatre. The actors will present “Proof,” an award-winning play by David Auburn with a darker edge than many of the other productions the amateur acting company has done. “We walk a very fine line where we try to do something new and original and at the same time we try to respect our audiences who like more comfortable pieces,” director Roxie Lee said. The play contains some strong language and is not recommended for children younger than 13, but Lee said the show offers a fresh, modern play about family and fate. For Lee, the annual fall performance for Whittier Community Theatre is a contrast from the popular summer musical, a chance to tackle a challenging modern piece. “I personally was one of the people who was really pushing for it, because it has so much to say,” Lee said. Although Lee has been directing with the theater group since the early 1990s, the actors in “Proof” are new to the group. Hester Wagner plays Claire, Catherine’s put-together sister. Wagner, 26, moved to Los Angeles from New York City two months ago and said she found Whittier Community Theatre through a Web site for aspiring actors. She said the experience so far has been positive. “Everything is really great, probably one of the smoothest plays that I’ve worked on,” Wagner said. “We’re all ready to explore and do stuff together.” Wagner said she first saw the play on Broadway and said she believes the show is relevant for Whittier residents. “The play is so well written that it just speaks to everybody on some level that goes to see it,” Wagner said. Leslie Rivera, 28, is also in her first production with the community group, and plays Catherine. Rivera said the role is one she has hoped to be cast in since she saw the play years ago. “I think the writing is beautiful,” Rivera said. “We are working so hard to make it a great production.” The production also includes Richard Large, 52, of Pasadena. Large saw “Proof” on Broadway several years ago, soon after it opened and plays Catherine’s father. He said he expects that audiences will be impressed by the strength of the acting team, the directing and the writing. “It’s a very moving script,” Large said. “If we do it right, they’ll follow along with us and fall in love with these people.” “Proof” opens at 8 p.m. today, and runs for three consecutive Friday and Saturday evenings, with one Sunday matinee at 2:30 p.m. on Nov. 11. Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for seniors. For information, call (562) 693-1105. [email protected] (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3029 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

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