Proof is a powerful drama the Richland Players are tackling in their next production, which opens March 8 at The Players Theatre in Richland.
"This is a story about a family," said director Richard Reuther. "They may not get along all the time. They may not be kind to each other. But they are a family."
The story revolves around Catherine, played by Anna Newbury, who is about to celebrate her birthday but not finding much to celebrate because she's spent the past four years caring for her father, played by Alan Tindell, a world-famous mathematician who was mentally unstable and difficult to the end of his life.
When he dies, Catherine is exhausted and becomes emotionally distraught. Not because of losing her father, but more because she worries that she has inherited his mental instability as well.
Then her control-freak sister, played by Hallie Harris, arrives to help settle the estate and get Catherine back on track, but all she succeeds in doing is driving a deeper wedge between the two.
On top of the sibling tension, one of their father's students arrives. Hal, played by Cameron Milton, is looking for valuable work their father had written down in 103 notebooks. Then a mathematical discovery is made, which wreaks havoc among the sisters and Hal when authorship of the proof comes into question.
"The script is filled with the dynamics of modern family life, jealousy, love, hate, confusion and uncertainty," Reuther said. He felt connection to the play's story because of its exploration of the fear of insanity, which is central to the story, he added.
"Proof of creation will either show that Catherine has a mathematical talent even beyond her father's or a delusional streak that outstrips him," he said. "These are themes that are close to my own life for the past few years."
Curtain time is 8 p.m. March 8-9, 15-16 and 22-23 with 2 p.m. matinees March 17 and 24. Tickets cost $12 for adults and $10 for students and seniors and are available at the box office.
The theater is at 610 The Parkway in Richland, off George Washington Way.
*Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; email@example.com; Twitter: @dorioneal