WESTFIELD — Westfield Community Players (WCP) will hold auditions in December for its March 2013 production of “Proof,” the Pulitzer Prize Award winning play by David Auburn. It will be directed by Steve Lemenille and produced by Sally Brown.
“Proof” is the story of a troubled young woman Catherine, who on the eve of her 25 birthday, 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?
Auditions have been scheduled for Monday, Dec. 3 and Tuesday, Dec. 4, from 7-10 p.m. at Westfield Community Players, 1000 North Avenue West, Westfield. Should call-backs be necessary, they will be held on Thursday, Dec. 6.
CATHERINE (stage age 25-30): Catherine gave up college to care for her father during his mental illness, and after his death, she is left in a sort of limbo where she is not prepared to deal with the world outside. She has a certain social awkwardness and tends to be gruff, short, and sarcastic, although not mean spirited; one senses that her discomfort in dealing with others drives her to say many things she would not otherwise say. It is clear that she has not interacted with the world much over the past nine years.
Catherine is not unlikable, in spite of her lack of social graces; in fact, she is written as quirky and extremely endearing. Her sense of humor and novel behavior traits walk the line between funny and heartbreaking.
CLAIRE (stage age 25-35): Breezy and business-like, Claire may be hiding many of the same lost, confused feelings her sister Catherine is experiencing, but it’s difficult to tell. While she can come across as somewhat cold and shallow, the truth about Claire lies deeper than that; she is not necessarily envious of her sister’s greater intelligence, but she is afraid of it.
She seems to have a great fear of volatile, unpredictable situations, and both Robert and Catherine represent that for her with their bright minds and (possible) mental instability. Claire is out of touch with the real emotional dynamics of the family. What is certain is that Claire, in her own way, cares very much about her sister Catherine’s well-being.
HAL (stage age 25-30): Walking the line between awkward and well meaning, and blundering and invasive, 28 year-old Hal is a former student of Robert’s. His lack of social grace, while different from Catherine’s, does in fact bring them closer together; both are devotees of her father’s brilliant mind. Hal is a mathematician but not a great one; he admires Robert’s accomplishments with a sort of hero worship, and reasonably assumes that Robert wrote the proof.
Hal’s motivations throughout his relationship with Catherine are somewhat in question. It seems that he is using Catherine, to a certain extent, in order to access her father’s notes; however, it’s not clear if he is doing this in a devious way or if he is just clueless as to the insensitivity of his behavior. Most tend to see him in the “clueless” light; Hal is simply too nerdy and too disingenuous to be acting in a pre-planned manner. His actions are often insensitive and he stampedes into Catherine’s life at a vulnerable time, but he is, nonetheless, helping her to unlock her brain and her life from the patterns they have followed for the past nine years, which may explain why Catherine warms to him as much as she does.
ROBERT (stage age 50-60): Robert is a different character in each of his three scenes. When he first appears, he is really only a figment of his daughter’s grieving imagination–a sort of ghost. In his second scene–four years earlier–he is his sane self, busily engaged in teaching and doing math, advising Hal, and coping with Catherine’s sudden decision to leave home and go off to college at Northwestern. In his third scene, he has again lapsed into madness as he sits on his freezing porch in midwinter Chicago, filling his notebooks with lunatic gibberish.
Each of these three “Roberts” presents a different face to the world, and to Catherine, like a flawed gem being turned in the light.
Robert-the-ghost is a daughter’s ideal of what a father should be. Thoughtful, kindly, caring. All in all, this Robert is exactly the father one would create for oneself–which, of course, is exactly what Catherine does.
The real Robert is a horse of a different color–or, rather, of at least two different colors. Robert-sane is still brilliant and decent, but more conspicuously flawed than his kindly ghost.
Robert-insane is different again. He is totally absorbed in his world of private revelation, wrapped in a cocoon of separateness that makes him an absolute burden on others. And what comes first is his solipsistic universe.
In his madness, he is energized and elated as we have never seen him before. Gone are the professorial diffidence, mildness, irony of his previous scenes.
These three Roberts present a fractured array of possible selves: the father as doting ideal; as flawed reality; as devouring madman. They are never synthesized, because this fragmentation was Robert’s tragedy–the background against which his daughter conducts her search for wholeness.
Those interested in auditioning should visit Westfield Community Players website for other details at http://www.westfieldcommunityplayers.org/WCPauditions.html. Additionally they may complete a pre-audition form prior to auditioning.
Rehearsals will begin in December and will be two or three days per week depending on selected cast schedules. For further information, email firstname.lastname@example.org