Niagara students present a show done all on their own
They say that art imitates life - and sometimes even the reverse may be true. "Proof," by David Auburn, has a very strong theme of wanting to prove that the younger generation is just as good as the older - and therefore is a most fitting piece for the NU Players to put on this weekend.
"Proof" follows the story of 25-year-old Catherine as she and her sister, Claire, attempt to cope with the loss of their father, Robert. Aside from Robert's death and the conflicts that will cause within a family, the other central conflict is that which the play is named after: a mathematical proof that is clearly the work of a genius. It was found in one of Robert's - a noted genius and mathematician - notebooks, but Catherine claims to have written it herself.
"Although it comes from a math standpoint, the play has a lot of issues that anyone can relate to," Andrea Gollhardt, the sophomore theater major playing Claire, said about the play. "The mathematical proof actually only serves as the central cause of a good portion of the conflict."
And as Catherine, played by sophomore theater major Annise Celano, tries to prove that she is the rightful author of the proof, this group of students proves that the adults of the department don't need to call the shots for every show. "Proof" is the annual NU Players Presents production; it's an all student-produced show. From artistic director of the Players board Dino Petrera to the show's director Jessica Bill, everyone involved in the putting on of the show is a student.
Some are even pulling double duty: Gollhardt, for example, is not only in the cast but is also the costume designer.
"This brings in an interesting dynamic," Ross Donatelli, the junior theater major playing Robert, said in regards to the show being all student-run.
"I've never been a part of a completely student run production that demonstrates this much energy, professionalism, and passion for the art of stage performance or the craft that is live theatre," Conor Ferguson added.
Ferguson is the odd man out in the production, but in a good way: Not only is he a freshman, he is also a psychology major.
Other students contributing in large ways are the stage manager, junior Devan Corcoran, her assistant stage manager, senior Kimmie Jarmusz, and senior set designer Sarah Cymba.
In addition to working with limited professional assistance from the professors of the theater department, "Proof" has had significantly less time to be put together and staged than most main-stage performances - and the show also has only a single weekend run. This doesn't faze the cast though.
"The time allotted to us in which we must put this show up and have it ready is definitely short, but the outcome I know already is going to be absolutely magnificent," Ferguson said.