Proof lifts blackout

Sep 14 2015 | By More

Blackout back, with Auburn’s Proof

Amateur company Blackout Productions return to the Edinburgh stage for their second production when they bring Proof to the St Bride’s centre.

Opening on Tuesday 22 September, this is the script which won playwright David Auburn both the Pulitzer Prize and the Tony Award for Best New Play in 2001.

Logo3The play explores the elusive nature of truth along with the relationship between genius and mental illness. Catherine, the daughter of a brilliant but unstable mathematician, has sacrificed her early twenties to care for her dying father.

When one of his former students finds an important proof in his notebooks, the issue of its provenance calls into question whether Catherine has inherited her father’s mathematical abilities or his darker side.

It’s two years since Blackout’s first production, a sparky version of musical, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Gabrielle Pavone-Clark, who directed Spelling Bee and plays Catherine in the upcoming production, explained that the company has always been keen to tackle all types of theatre, adding: “one of our objectives is to encourage and perform new or lesser-known works”.

The long wait between productions is simply down to the demanding jobs and schedules of the company, she said, explaining that they will always wait for for the right time and the right material before they produce the next production.

coils and unspools underneath

“We were fascinated by how expertly Auburn makes his characters & script so relevant and realistic,” she told Æ. “They snipe at each other over not using the right type of conditioner or putting milk in coffee while the real cause of the argument coils and unspools underneath.”

The production will be directed by Nick Hayes with James Dickson playing Catherine’s father, Robert, Steven Smyth the student Hal and Lesley Ward as Catherine’s older and estranged sister, Claire.

The play was filmed in 2005 with Gwyneth Paltrow as Catherine and directed by John Madden. Although the stage play is a four-hander, Madden opened the screenplay up for a larger cast.

The central conundrum remained the same, however. The proof of the title is whether Catherine has written a world-changing proof, despite the fact that she’s untrained – Or is it her father’s work, despite the fact that he is supposedly past his best years and suffering severe mental illness?

Pavone-Clark says that in examining this, Auburn does what is almost impossible to do in novels by creating “the flicker of doubt you get because you’re not able to get into any of the characters heads and you don’t know what is true.”

“Auburn really shines in that arena,” she adds. “Making you feel like even the characters themselves don’t know if they’re telling the truth or if they are painfully deluded. It gives the audience the opportunity to come up with their own interpretation.”


Tuesday 22 – Friday 25 September 2015
Daily: 7.30pm
St Brides Community Centre, 10 Orwell Terrace, Edinburgh, EH11 2DZ
Tickets £10.00 from
Blackout Productions on twitter: @ablackoutprod
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