Bismarck State College turns to one of Broadway's most highly awarded plays with "Proof," a drama of mystery and exceptional storytelling that received the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for drama and Tony Award for best play.
Performances are Oct. 16-20 with shows starting at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday in Sidney J. Lee Auditorium.
Written by David Auburn, the play concerns Catherine, the daughter and caregiver of Robert, a college professor and math genius, as she struggles to learn how much of her unstable father's genius or madness she has inherited. The answer may lie in 103 notebooks of scribbled calculations the professor left behind.
While handling her volatile emotions and insecurities, Catherine must deal with the arrival of her estranged sister Claire and the attentions of Hal, Robert's graduate student, who hopes to discover a paradigm-shifting proof about prime numbers in the notebooks.
BSC Theatre Director Dan Rogers said this well-made play has nearly perfect dramatic structure that keeps the audience engaged.
"Auburn knows how to finish a scene or an act," Rogers said. "His ability to sustain conflict, build it and then provide brilliant twists and revelations is wonderful to work with. One of our goals at BSC is to bring the best in contemporary dramatic literature to our campus. This fits the bill. ‘Proof' is one of the most produced and successful plays of the new century."
The production shines with a seasoned cast of community and BSC alumni and student players. Erin Weichel portrays the troubled Catherine. A BSC graduate, she had the lead role of Rose in BSC's spring production of "Gypsy." She is artistic director of Capitol Shakespeare in Bismarck and directed "Titanic," the 2012 theater collaboration between BSC and University of Mary. Her experience includes acting roles in New York City and with an East Coast touring company.
Bismarck newcomer Jesse Lagos plays Harold Dobbs (Hal). Lagos has performed in operas and plays at several theaters in Los Angeles, where he obtained his Bachelor of Arts in theater and attended L.A. County High School for the Arts. George Welder of Bismarck, a veteran Dakota Stage Ltd. actor, portrays Robert, and Savannah Bashus, a BSC freshman, is the detached Claire.
Rogers said "Proof" is another example of BSC Theatre's ongoing dedication to expand and innovate.
"This is a very experienced cast with a funny, powerful text," he said. "Our purpose has been to reach out into the community and give our alumni a chance to play. BSC students can learn by working with them."
Dean Bellin, assistant professor of theatre, handles technical direction and lighting design, with stage management by Anthony Huggett and scene design by Jack Golden. Josh Hannaman serves as student assistant director.
"Proof" also received the 2001 Drama Desk Award for best new play, New York Drama Critics' Circle award for best play, and Lucille Lortel Award for outstanding play. The 2005 film adaptation starred Gwyneth Paltrow as Catherine and Anthony Hopkins as Robert.
This play carries a PG-13 rating for adult language. Children under age 5 are not allowed in the theater. Tickets are $10. To reserve seats, call the box office at 224-5511.
About Bismarck State College Bismarck State College, an innovative community college in Bismarck, N.D., offers high quality education, workforce training, and enrichment programs reaching local and global communities. For more information, visit bismarckstate.edu.