Pulitzer-winning ‘Proof’ tour stops at CFA

Promotional photo of "Proof." (Courtesy of CFA)
Promotional photo of "Proof." (Courtesy of CFA)

Fairfax County native and actress Alex Keiper will perform for the Mason community Friday evening when the Walnut Street Theatre production “Proof” arrives at the Center for the Arts.

“It’s like a huge homecoming,” said Keiper. “I’m excited to be able to share all of the hard work I’ve been doing. It’s a big pay off that most actors don’t usually get.”

“Proof” will begin at 8 p.m. on Friday, March 2, at the Center for the Arts.

Keiper learned most of what she knows about acting from her father, who would practice monologues with her in their living room. The relationship made it easy for Keiper to assimilate to her role in “Proof,” in which she plays Catherine, a young woman who left college to care for her ailing father. Catherine’s father, Robert, is a professor and mathematical genius struggling with mental illness

“It was pretty easy to connect to,” said Keiper, who said she could relate to the father-daughter relationship between Catherine and Robert.

Despite being a local talent, “Proof” will be Keiper’s debut professional performance at the Center for the Arts.

The Philadelphia-based theatre company is currently touring their production of “Proof,” which Keiper said began in an “88-seat black box.” She said the 2,000-seat, Center for the Arts venue requires flexibility from the cast.

“When we started the tour we knew [how big] the venues were going to be so we were prepared to sort of change things up,” said Keiper. “With a big space, [there are many] subtleties that may [be] missed.”

The Pulitzer Prize-Winning play is directed by Kate Galvin, who said she had more than a year to prepare.

“We had a really long period of time to ruminate over the play, which was great,” said Galvin. “I read [many] articles about different famous mathematicians and I shared a lot of those things with my cast.”

The research Galvin conducted allowed her to figure out the direction in which she wished to take the play.

“That’s one of the things I really like about theatre—you are doing a play about something that’s so outside of your world,” said Galvin. “I’m a research geek.”

The Center for the Arts allows students the opportunity to attend each event free-of-charge by setting aside 500 free tickets for students, according to Tom Reynolds, director of artistic programming, marketing and audience services for the College of Visual and Performing Arts.

“I suspect that it’s probably one of the best kept secrets on this campus,” said Reynolds. “It breaks my heart if the students don’t come and get [the tickets] and we end up having empty seats.”

Reynolds said student attendance varies based on the event but that when it comes to booking performances at the Center for the Arts, he often tries to bring-in performances that will relate to students classroom experiences.

“A big part of what we do is to support what’s going on in the classroom,” said Reynolds.

Every year, Reynolds meets with faculty from the College of Visual and Performing Arts to discuss which acts may enhance their students’ comprehension of the arts.

“Typically, with the dance companies that we bring in, they will spend time working with our students doing master classes and evaluating some of the work that they are doing,” said Reynolds. “So, obviously we want people coming in to perform [who] are also the kind of people that our dance faculty would like to have the students work with.”

Reynolds explained that the Center for the Arts strives to demonstrate the payoff of hard work and present students with the best of the arts that they are studying.

“We want [students] to develop an understanding of what the ultimate goal is,” said Reynolds. “To what should I aspire?”

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