The Theater Within

Directed by Rod Isaac

3 stars

If you've seen the trailer for the 2005 movie Proof, you know most of what happens here. Upon the death of her math genius father, a young woman wonders what she will inherit, his genius or his devastating mental illness. I wish I was less intimately acquainted with mental illness, for a long list of reasons that have nothing to do with Proof, and because then I might have enjoyed Auburn's Tony/Pulitzer-Prize winning play simply as a coming-of-age mystery. Is the young professor that enters Catherine's life out to steal a mathematical proof? Is her father the true author? However, it's hard to forgive the author for playing the mental illness card more to elevate a predictable story than to explore how lives are refracted by it. The production's heavy-handed use of violin music to signal pathos provides further aggravation. At least, the middling cast takes the unbearable Hollywood sheen off the Midwestern characters. Danna Sheridan is the depressive, sardonic daughter, Jeremy Kinnett her fumbling pursuer, and Kristin Katsu her know-it-all sister. Most of all, I enjoyed Glenn Dobbs as the graphomanic father in flashback. Through that character, Auburn delivers a simple, honest truth: that sometimes taking joy in one's work is synonymous with finding joy in life. Through June 26. 850-4665;

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