NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

‘Proof’ was astounding performance

I had the absolute pleasure of attending the opening performance of the play Proof at Northern Essex Community College on Nov. 10.

Proof, a play by David Auburn, was directed by NECC alumni Matthew Lundergan. It featured Olivia Barberian as Catherine, Elian Gonzalez as Hal, Samantha Wheatley as Claire and George Tournas as Robert.

Audience seated in chairs watching two people on stagePhoto courtesy of Theater Professor Brianne Beatrice

The opening night of the play “Proof” on the Haverhill campus had a full crowd on Nov. 10

Having no prior knowledge of the play, I sat down a bit tired and with zero expectations – being the first in person indoor theater performance at the college in years, how good could it possibly be?

To say that my expectations were blown out of the water would be an understatement.

Proof was an absolutely astounding performance from all those involved, with such a heartfelt message that I couldn’t help but be enthralled.

Exploring the relationships between people is such a complicated thing, but Proof masterfully links it to the field of academics and the desperation that those can feel when trying to prove a concept as their own- it’s messy, makes no sense from an outside perspective, but given time and thought is perfectly clear.

The entire cast – which consisted of four people, mind you- delivered such emotional genuinity that by the time it had reached intermission, I could hardly stop myself from standing up and demanding they continue immediately.

The use of costume changes and props to imply changes in scenery where there was truly none was incredible- selling the changes in temperature and reacting to differences that, to the audience, weren’t there immersed me more than I would have believed.

It was a lesson in making more from less – and, while some may have found that confusing, it served the plot well.
However, the downside of a production being a more philosophical story interested in bridging the gap between the scientific and the highly emotional is that it may not be for everyone.

While I enjoyed every second, I couldn’t help but feel that, had I glanced away for a moment, I might have lost the path of the plot entirely. This issue isn’t the fault of anyone in particular- in fact, it seems that the play itself knows that fact and, despite it, continues to be one of the most heartwarming, subversive pieces I have seen.

I would say that I recommend the reader give it a watch – but as of the time of this writing, the play is over, and the theater will be moving on to the next production.

So while I cannot recommend Proof anymore, I can safely say that the theater program has thoroughly proven themselves – and you can guarantee that I’ll be firmly in a seat for their next production.

For more information about upcoming theater productions or classes, email Theater Coordinator Professor Brianne Beatrice,