Saturday, February 17, 2018
Features and More

Human variables drive the drama in Stage West's 'Proof,' opening Feb. 9

On the surface, David Auburn's Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning 2001 drama Proof is a sort of whodunit — or, "Who wrote a stunning mathematical proof that could revolutionize the way people perceive prime numbers?" a real careermaker in the world of mathematicians and science.

But, in truth, that's just the peg upon which the play is hung. It's really about human relationships, guilt, blame, fear and love.

The play opens Thursday at the Forum at Stage West Community Playhouse in Spring Hill and continues weekends through Feb. 19.

In it, 20-something Catherine (Jessica Virginia, Velma in Chicago) has devoted her life to caring for her brilliant but mentally unstable father Robert (George Dwyer, Lancelot in Camelot), who was once the most promising scholar in the field of mathematics. For years, she has nurtured him as he veered from lucidity to lunacy, scribbling in his notebooks and talking math theory with his daughter in the back yard of their modest Chicago home near the university where Robert once taught.

Now Robert is gone, and Catherine thinks about what she has done with her life so far and what she will do with herself from now on. Her older sister Claire (Alyssa Stevenson) arrives from New York City, where she has built a successful career that has allowed her to financially support her father and sister. Claire is concerned that Catherine may have inherited their father's mental illness, and she wants Catherine to go back to New York with her and get some kind of treatment. But does Catherine really need treatment? Or is Claire trying to assuage some kind of guilt she feels for being so happy and carefree, seemingly at Catherine's expense?

Meanwhile, Robert's star pupil, Hal (Dan Brij- bag, HAMIs for Shadow Box and Camelot), volunteers to clean out his mentor's office. Catherine seems to develop a crush on the young but very appealing scholar and gives him the key to a secret drawer in her father's office. As Hal leaves one evening, a notebook falls out of his satchel — a notebook filled with scribblings that contain a revolutionary math proof that could be the making of Robert's reputation or of Hal's fledgling career.

So the question becomes: Who wrote that proof? And how can anyone prove who wrote the proof?

This question hovers, as Claire tries to figure out what to do about Catherine, if anything, and Catherine tries to come to terms with herself. The departed Robert eases in and out of these dilemmas, as Catherine either recalls portions of their relationship or experiences delusions that he is still there.

It's the kind of drama that leaves the audience with its own dilemmas: Who is telling the truth? Who is lying? Who did the right thing? And what is the right thing?

Proof has been produced at several bay area theaters — American Stage, Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, Eight O'Clock Theatre in Largo, Florida Studio Theatre in Sarasota, the Salerno Theatre Company in Tampa, and, most recently, by the Hat Trick Theater company at the Eleanor Dempsey Performing Arts Center in Hudson. But this is the first time a Pasco or Hernando theater has produced the play in its own venue.

Because of the subject matter and some adult themes, the play isn't recommended for children.

Comments
Trumpeter is the highlight of a concert featuring ‘West Side Story’ themes

Trumpeter is the highlight of a concert featuring ‘West Side Story’ themes

TAMPA — Leonard Bernstein would have turned 100 this year. The Florida Orchestra performed two of his works Friday, the second of which paired the dances from West Side Story with the overture to Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet.The orche...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Five things that make Cirque du Soleil’s ‘Volta’ different and fun

Five things that make Cirque du Soleil’s ‘Volta’ different and fun

TAMPA — Cirque du Soleil is back in town with a new show.The Montreal-based company always puts on an extravaganza, splashing around color with the abandon of a toddler playing with paint buckets and a storyline several layers deep, the artistic skel...
Published: 02/16/18
The Reading Room’s Lauren Macellaro and Columbia’s Richard Gonzmart are James Beard semifinalists

The Reading Room’s Lauren Macellaro and Columbia’s Richard Gonzmart are James Beard semifinalists

It’s almost a sick joke. On the morning after Valentine’s Day, the second-busiest restaurant day of the year, chefs all over the country are hauling themselves out of bed early to find out: Did I make it onto this year’s James Beard Foundation list o...
Published: 02/15/18
Put Alaskan king crab leg shells to work in a creamy, dreamy bisque

Put Alaskan king crab leg shells to work in a creamy, dreamy bisque

Nothing says indulgence like noshing on some seriously giant Alaskan king crab legs. They’re not just tasty, they’re a low-fat source of protein: One leg has about 25 grams of protein and a host of vitamins and minerals (including sodium, incidentall...
Published: 02/15/18
Avocado toast gets a persimmon twist

Avocado toast gets a persimmon twist

You’ve likely seen persimmon in the grocery store and then shied away from it, not quite sure what to do with it. The most common variety in the United States is the fuyu persimmon, also called Japanese persimmon, and it looks similar to a slightly f...
Published: 02/15/18
Bar review: Valenty’s Lounge, part of Pasadena Liquors in St. Pete — who knew?

Bar review: Valenty’s Lounge, part of Pasadena Liquors in St. Pete — who knew?

Once, if I’d received a recommendation to check out a lounge attached to a liquor store near the beach, I wouldn’t have been in much of a hurry to check it out. But I’ve learned that there’s frequently magic in these places. ...
Published: 02/15/18
Local craft beer of the week: Process IPA, Calusa Brewing

Local craft beer of the week: Process IPA, Calusa Brewing

Not long ago, it was all about the West Coast IPA. California breweries like Stone, Russian River and Bear Republic built empires on the style, favoring a dry IPA base and mountains of resiny, intensely bitter hops to craft aggressive brews that laug...
Published: 02/15/18
New CoffeeHouse and Eatery comes to South Tampa

New CoffeeHouse and Eatery comes to South Tampa

Daily Dose Coffeehouse & Eatery opened earlier this month and offers South Tampa unique smoked coffee and a number of fresh, homemade breakfast items.Located in Fair Oaks Plaza at 3324 W Gandy Blvd., Daily Dose serves a different chef special everyda...
Published: 02/15/18
Rocco’s Tacos & Tequila Bar has opened at International Plaza

Rocco’s Tacos & Tequila Bar has opened at International Plaza

INTERNATIONAL PLAZA—After a long wait, the highly anticipated Rocco’s Tacos and Tequila bar is finally open for business at International Plaza’s Bay Street on Monday (Feb 12).Originally expected to open last September, owner Rocco Mangel said they g...
Published: 02/15/18
I sat through Disney's Hall of Presidents five times. It says more about us than Trump.

I sat through Disney's Hall of Presidents five times. It says more about us than Trump.

LAKE BUENA VISTA — Next time you’re at the Magic Kingdom, walk up Main Street USA and hang a left at Cinderella’s castle. Enter the faux colonial Liberty Square, with its exact replica Liberty Bell and "liberty tree" adorned with 1...
Published: 02/15/18