Proof proves SM = GT
(Subject of Math = Gripping Theatre)

Snowglobe Theatre’s version of Proof assembles a fine cast

By Byron Toben

What a pleasure to see David Auburn’s 2001 Pulitzer and Tony winning play Proof back in Montreal again!

Proof play - WestmountMag.caIt was last here in March 2003 at the Centaur, which I reckon to be about, um… 16 years ago.

The current revival is the latest of the eclectic Snowglobe Theatre’s shows, this time at the intimate Mainline Theatre venue.

Dramas involving mathematical conflicts are rare on stage although there have been a few films considering the subject (Rain Man, Good Will Hunting, Pi, A Beautiful Mind).

In Proof, a brilliant math professor, Robert (30 year film and TV veteran James Rae) has become disabled by mental illness. He has two daughters, Claire (England-educated Anna Burkholder) and the younger Catherine (Concordia theatre grad Alexandria Przybyla).

Claire has pursued a successful career in New York, while the promising Catherine has stayed in Chicago to care for their father, abandoning her scholarship to study math at University. Upon Robert’s demise, his grad student Hal (John Abbott grad Gabriel Infante) enters the scene, hoping to find clues in Robert’s papers of the solution to a famous math theorem that he had been working on for years.

Proof play -

The play examines themes of sibling rivalry, repressed sexuality, inherited madness, and even questions of whether females could progress in math, felt to be only “a young man’s game”.

To my mind, theatre buffs should not miss this well scripted, emotionally acted play.

Ada Lovelace -

Ada Lovelace by Alfred Edward Chalon [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

(Despite this assumption, Wikipedia lists hundreds of females of note in math history. Among the most famous is Lord Byron’s daughter, Ada Lovelace, who is considered the first computer programmer in history.)

To my mind, theatre buffs should not miss this well scripted, emotionally acted play.

First time director Nicholas Stamiris-Haze has used his acting background to assemble a fine cast which handles subtle line nuances well along with timely outbursts.

Proof continues at the Mainline Theatre until March 17.
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Images: Molly BarrieauBouton S'inscrire à l'infolettre –

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Byron Toben, a past president of The Montreal Press Club, has been’s theatre reviewer since July 2015. Previously, he wrote for since terminated web sites Rover Arts and Charlebois Post, print weekly The Downtowner and print monthly The Senior Times. He also is an expert consultant on U.S. work permits for Canadians.

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  1. Jane Gilchrist

    I saw this play at the Centaur first time out. It is one of those plays that draws you in and forces you to think and feel for people whose integrity is highly challenged by their emotions and desires. As I recall, I began by pitying the characters and ended up wishing I could have such strength as theirs.

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