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The Carnegie Explores Life, Loss, and Legacy in Dramatic Fashion with David Auburn’s “Proof”


Review by Jenifer Moore  of “Proof”: Carnegie Theatre

We are our parents’ children, but we aren’t them. Or are we? 

I found myself pondering this very question while traveling through the trifecta of life, loss, and legacy with the phenomenal cast and crew at The Carnegie’s adaptation of David Auburn’s “Proof”, now showing as a part of the 2019-2020 theatre season. The Tony Award-winning play opens on the eve of a funeral of a mad mathematician, Robert, as his equally brilliant daughter, Catherine, grapples with the reality that her witty father is gone. It is also her twenty-fifth birthday, and the weight of caring for her father for half a decade lays heavy on her mind and heart as she guzzles cheap champagne. 

While the synopsis centers around inheriting the traits of a parent and its associated fear, much more reveals itself over the duration of the roughly 120-minute production. The underlying theme of caregivership looms like a white elephant in a room. Being a caregiver to an ill parent can leave a person feeling isolated, depressed, resentful and a host of other complicated and transitioning emotions. But don’t think this is a heavy, emotional-led play. The comedic quips weaved into the fabric of the script centered around a mathematical proof that needs authentication of authorship offers levity to an otherwise heavy, reflective story. 

The poetic performances of the cast, most notably Allen R. Middleton and Katie Mitchell, in their roles as Robert and Catherine, will tug at your heart and leave you speechless. Middleton’s talent shines at a pivotal point in the production as he showcases his expertise in using voice affliction and cadence to draw in audiences. Jared Erland and Kate Mock Elliott in their supporting roles as Hal and Claire bring balance to the cast in a unique way with their soft, yet firm demeanors.  

Home is a safe haven and Doug Stock, the scenic designer in his second full-time season at The Carnegie, literally gives us one as the set for the drama.  A full house (I repeat.. A FULL HOUSE) complete with a solid roof, windows, and a full back porch is the perfect compliment that was executed effortlessly. Home takes on new meanings–literally and figuratively–as family ages. The set design is a reminder that home may not be home as it was once known, but it still stands on a solid foundation against trials and tribulations. 

The “Proof” is in the cast performances and stellar directing by Tonie Wiggins. This mysterious, yet heart-warming production is a reminder that sometimes we are not our parents, we are destined to be better. I encourage you to grab a friend and prepare to be drawn into “Proof” adapted by The Carnegie–an inspiring tale of life, and legacy. 

“Proof” runs until Nov 17 at The Carnegie located in Covington, KY. Tickets can be purchased online HERE or by calling the box office at (859) 957-1940.