Take a love story, add the death of a loved one and some superior mathematics -- it will equal the play “Proof.”
Yet, “Proof,” presented by State College Community Theatre, is much more than that.
The play’s opening night was Thursday night in the Attic of downtown’s The State Theatre, 130 West College Ave. “Proof” will show again on 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and at 2 p.m. Sunday, and will play again at the same times next weekend. Tickets are $16 for general admission and $14 for students and seniors.
Gail McCormick played the 25-year-old main character Catherine in the play.
“Catherine is in a difficult place in life, she is coming to terms with [her father’s] death…and her own potential dissention into madness,” she said.
Robert, Catherine’s father in the play, is a brilliant mathematician who loses his mind slowly.
Catherine takes care of him in their home up until his passing and when he dies is left to deal with her sister and the appearance of Hal, a former student of Robert who is going through Robert’s 103 notebooks looking for promising work left behind.
The cast of four only started rehearsing two weeks ago, McCormick said.
“It’s a lot of fun to work with [the cast], it’s very enjoyable,” she said.
The Attic venue where the show took place was not originally intended to be a theatre, said McCormick.
“But it works well,” McCormick, who also called the space “encompassing,” said.
State College resident and audience member of Thursday night’s performance, Star Campbell said that she appreciated the performance’s venue and called the play “phenomenal.”
“More people need to know about it,” she said.
The struggles of the characters are familiar to everyone, McCormick said.
In some ways, the play is about trusting people, she said.
The entire performance takes place on a porch, with the audience seated around.
The stage, which resembles the shape of a horseshoe, “puts you in the middle of the action,” McCormick said.
The performance of “Proof” was the first time Director Jason Poorman worked in the Attic stage at The State Theatre.
“It presented a challenge when staging the show,” Poorman said. “Everything is impacted.”
Poorman directed “Proof” for the first time in 2004, and called it a “tremendous play and [one] worth revisiting.”
“It’s about a lot of things,” he said. “Father and daughter relationships, sister relationships and starting a new love.”
It’s also about growing up, Poorman said.
Audience member Pichkitti Bannangkoon is a graduate student in mathematics and called the play “amazing.”
The effect of actions on those around you is the central idea of the play, Poorman said.
“It’s about hope, despair and other things plays should be about,” he said.
Rehearsal for “Proof” started on Sept. 22 and the cast “had a great time working together,” Poorman said.
Kirsten Eisentraeger is an associate professor in mathematics at Penn State and said that the Thursday night’s performance was entertaining, as well as a “good portrayal of how math works.”