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Proof' explores mysteries of genius, the human heart

March 14th, 2012 3:46 am by From staff reports

Proof' explores mysteries of genius, the human heart

The mysteries of genius and the human heart will collide in unexpected ways when the Northeast State Community College Department of Theater stages the Pulitzer Prize-winning play “Proof” this week.

Show times are 7:30 p.m., March 15, 16 and 17, and 2 p.m., March 17 and 18. All performances will be held in the Northeast State Auditorium of the Students Building on the college’s main campus in Blountville, adjacent to Tri-Cities Regional Airport.

The play is directed by Elizabeth M. Sloan, Northeast State’s theatre instructor.

“I have always wanted to direct this show,” Sloan said. “It is a fantastic glimpse into human relationships. We are having a blast exploring these characters and this beautifully written play.”

Written by David Auburn and set in Chicago, the play follows Catherine, a brilliant but depressed college dropout wrangling with family and psychological issues. Her father Robert, a mathematical genius who suffered from mental illness, has recently died. He appears in the play talking to Catherine, who stayed at home and cared for her father until his death.

As preparations are made for the funeral and Catherine’s sister Claire returns from New York, Catherine forms a tentative friendship with Hal, a mathematician who is one of her father’s former students.

The plot shifts into high gear when Hal discovers that Robert left behind a proof of a mathematical theorem that mathematicians had thought impossible.

It is an astonishing discovery, but Catherine shocks Hal by claiming she wrote the proof.

As the mystery develops and resolves, the play explores the link between genius and madness and whether either or both can be inherited.

“Proof” also tells a story about human relationships, and how trust and love can be as difficult, and just as uncertain, as establishing the truth of a mathematical proof.

The play, featuring a cast of four, contains adult language and is not recommended for children under age 16.

Tickets are $5 for general admission; admission is free to Northeast State students with a valid current student ID. Tickets can be purchased online at w w w. N o r t h e a s t S t a t e . e d u .

For more information, call (423) 354-2479 or email em? .

Courtesy of Northeast State
Mathematics and madness collide in Northeast State Theater’s production of ‘Proof,’ opening Thursday.

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