Reviewed by Joseph Michael Mishler
Clio Cast and Crew’s production of David Auburn’s Proof started strong and never let up. The play is about a young woman who has spent that last few years taking care of her mentally ill father, a math genius who revolutionized the field when he was young. After his death she is torn in several directions. She gave up her schooling to take care of him. Amid worries that she also will eventually have a mental illness like her father, she is also besieged by a young math teacher going over all her father’s final notebooks. Then her sister arrived and immediately tried to take control. The young woman also had a secret that added to the conflicts, but you will have to see the play to find out her secret.
Auburn received a Pulitzer Prize for Playwriting and a Tony Award for Proof. He was also awarded the Helen Merrill Award for Playwriting and a Guggenheim Fellowship for playwriting.
Katherine Mizell played Catherine, the young woman who took care of her father. She did a great job of dealing with all the mood changes and worked extremely well with the other characters. Her overall performance was consistent and impressive though there were a few times when she might have been a little louder.
JR Nunley played Robert, the father and math genius. Nunley has been entertaining and dazzling Flint area audiences for quite some time. His performance as Robert was extremely well done. At times he seemed like a genius and at times he was ill. He and Catherine were well matched.
Carl Mizell played Hal, the young math professor. His performance as a frustrated math person, a romantic, and a conflicted researcher was very good. He was consistent, moving in and out of the various situations with ease. He and Catherine seemed well matched on stage.
Dawn Sabourin played Claire, Catherine’s bossy sister. She portrayed a very good problem solver but one who was fearful of what might happen in the future. Both women made it seem as though they were actual sisters. Claire misunderstands her sister’s behavior causing her to exacerbate the issues. She also gave a very consistent performance.
Jim Waner, the director, picked a strong cast for this play. His set was well done portraying two different outdoor patio areas. The doors going into the house were well placed. The cast used the set fully and kept the two areas distinct. I wasn’t sure about the music because it was very quietly played.
I highly recommend this play. There is some harsh language, but it fits with the play.
Proof continues on May 10, 16, 17 at 7:30pm, and on May 11 and 18 at 2pm. Clio Cast and Crew is located at Theatre 57, 2220 Vienna Rd, Clio, MI 48420. For tickets and reservations call 810-687-2588.