Went to Olney Theatre Center tonight to see "Proof". It's a multiple prize winning drama about a family racked with genius and loss and the younger of two sisters finding a better place for herself in the midst of both. Elegantly written and beautifully performed this evening. It's on stage through June 18th and I would urge anyone looking for a wonderful evening of theatre in the next week to get tickets.
The anchor of the cast is Dawn Ursula as the Catherine, the demented genius's Ggenius daughter. She works the various moods of Catherine with an effortless commonness that immediately makes her real and compelling. Craig Wallace plays the father, Robert, who is dead though most of the play appearing in flashbacks and as an apparition in the first scene. I saw Craig earlier in "Fathers Come Home from War, Parts 1, 2 & 3". It took me awhile to make this connection as he played the role of a happy dog! Great actor. Aakhu TuahNera Freeman played Claire, the older sister. She is the responsible one, the one who makes the hard decisions from afar or just ignores the problem--every family knows this one well, and Aakhu plays it with a conviction that makes the times she lets her guard down all the more poignant. And finally the protogée, Hal, is played with tremendous sincerity and humor by Kiko Eisen-Martin. All in all one of the best ensembles I've seen all year.
It was open-seating and shortly after I sat down on the end of a row, a trio of African American women sat down next to me. An older women directly to my left and two younger women beyond her. My row-mate and I soon struck up a conversation. She was Sylvia Bryant a retired Montclaire County New Jersey public school administrator who was a guest of her younger daughter and her daughter's friend for the play. We soon were chatting like two old friends about DC (She'd just moved here after her husband's death and her retirement), Philadelphia (her husband was from there), the theatre (both the DC scene and her life long second vocation as a dancer--and she might have been edging up to 70, but let me tell you this, the girl still had the legs for it!) She shared her impressions of her new home here in Olney and peppered me with questions about my job and role as a Staff Development Teacher in Montgomery Country Public Schools. We talked about racism and some of the work her new little church in Sandy Springs, Maryland is doing to combat it. The only thing we didn't do was exchange phone numbers...and now, I kind of wish we had.