See tomorrow's stars today in 'Proof'

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Courtesy Ed Flores

Catherine (Rebecca Galcik, understudy for Cera Naccarato) listens to her brilliant mathematician father (David Morden) in the ghost of her memory, as she remembers his downward spiral into madness in David Auburn's "Proof," presented by Arizona Repertory Theatre at the UA. The play is running Feb. 5-26.

The Arizona Repertory Theatre will be performing their first play of the year on Feb. 8 with the showing of “Proof,” a play by David Auburn.

The play will also mark the first time students will be able to take advantage of lower ticket prices. Tickets were reduced for students at the beginning of the year from $19 for plays and $21 for musicals to just $15 for both.  If the reduced ticket price still isn’t enough, there is also a rush option open to UA students where they will be able to put down $10 at the box office, but will not be allowed to choose their own seats.

“Proof” will be directed by actor Hank Stratton, whose resume includes shows and movies such as “American Dreams,” “The Unit,” and “Love’s Unending Legacy,” among others.

For Stratton, transitioning from film and television to theatre was natural, and working with young actors and actresses is an opportunity he relishes with great glee. 

“They’re at the beginning of their careers,” Stratton said. “Helping to facilitate an actor’s discovery about something they didn’t know they could do is very exciting.” 

There are a few other things Stratton says are different from the working with more seasoned professionals. Many of the actors at the Repertory Theatre are in the infancy of their careers. For Stratton, that means working with the student actors requires much more heavy lifting and guidance. However, he also says that seeing the actors find their skills and passion is a thrill and well worth the effort. 

RELATED: Arizona Repertory Theatre reduces ticket prices for UA students

One such actress is Cera Naccarato who will be playing as Catherine, the main protagonist of “Proof.” Naccarato is also part of the professional actor training program at the School of Theatre, Film and Television. Most recently, she has been cast to play a role in NBC’s upcoming legal drama, “Chicago Justice.”

Courtesy Arizona Repertory Theatre

The Arizona Repertory Theatre's first play of the season is "Proof" by David Auburn. The show runs Feb. 8-26.

“Catherine is a very complicated character and she goes through a lot through in this play,” she said. “She’s written very whiny almost. It’s easy to play her in a childish way."

Naccarato also highlights other aspects of her character. 

“She’s a very intelligent character who’s always thinking." 

One of the prominent relationships in the play is between Catherine and her sister, Claire. While Catherine has been at home taking care of her father until his eventual death, Claire has left home to make a life of her own. 

“There’s real conflict,” Stratton says. “The feeling that there is a favorite daughter.” Stratton goes on to characterize the play as being about two mathematicians and the aftermath of “the loss of the patriarch of the family.” 

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However, the play is also about how the two sisters come to terms with each other after the loss of their father. While the relationship between them can be tense at times, the love is there.

“There is love underneath, but both of them have a really hard time showing it,” said Kelly Hajek, who will be playing Catherine’s sister Claire.

The relationship between the two sisters may be seen as a constant back and forth struggle as the two attempt to deal with the death of their father in their own way. 

“She’s very logical,” Hajek said when describing Claire. “She comes in trying to help, she likes to be in control of a lot of things and that doesn’t mesh well with Catherine.” 

Off set, the dynamic between the actors and actresses is very different from the one portrayed in the play. 

“You develop a brother-sister relationship with everybody, everyone has each other’s backs,” Naccarato said. 

Even though the theatre can be a competitive environment at times, there is still a strong sense of camaraderie and unity which all the actors share with one another. 

Courtesy Lisa Pierce

The Arizona Repertory Theatre is located on campus. This semester they will be offering reduced ticket prices to students.

“Once we had our first read through, you could just tell it was going to work,” Hajek said. 

Facilitating a constructive and educational environment for the young actors and actresses is one of Stratton’s more crucial roles as director.    

“There is a relationship between a play and an audience,” Stratton said. “It’s an emotional, tactile experience that can only happen in the theatre. It’s like no other art.”

“Proof” will be playing throughout February, meaning that there will be plenty of chances for UA students to see the future stars of tomorrow’s shows perform live on stage.


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