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Pulitzer winning play to open at CSUB
February 17, 2005
CONTACT: Mike Stepanovich, 661/664-2456 or
Jaclyn Loveless,

A Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning play is set to take the stage at California State University, Bakersfield. Performances of David Auburn’s “Proof” are scheduled for Feb. 22-27 in the Arena Theatre on campus.

“Proof” marks the fifth time CSUB has staged a Pulitzer Prize-winning play. The Pulitzer is a unique award in that its criteria are more than whether the work is good drama. The prize recognizes "a distinguished play by an American author, preferably original in its source and dealing with American life." While the piece must be staged, the prize goes to the writer alone, not the producer or director. In years where no play fits the bill, the Pulitzer panel chooses not to award a prize.

“Proof” tells the story of a young woman who drops out of school to care for her father, a once-brilliant mathematician who succumbs to schizophrenia in later life. After her father's death, an extraordinary mathematical proof is discovered in his study. The young woman claims it is her work, but is disbelieved by friends and family, and she has no way of "proving" the proof is hers. She later fears she may have inherited more than her father’s brilliance.

“It’s important to do contemporary work,” said Kenneth Elliott, the CSUB theater professor who is directing the play and who is the newest addition to the theater faculty. “It has great parts for students and faculty because of the academic setting.”

Kathleen Farrell, an English major, plays the role of the daughter, Catherine. Paul DuPratt plays the father, who, although dead, appears throughout the play as either a ghost or in flashbacks. Megan Darmofal is cast as Catherine’s manipulative sister, and Matt Lindsay as a boyfriend who shows up unexpectedly.

“‘Proof’ is a play about love in many different ways,” said Elliott. “It also is funny, but tragic in places. It is by turns a detective story, a romance, a family drama, and a psychological thriller. Catherine, the troubled daughter of a once-brilliant mathematician, struggles with the question of how much of her father's genius – or madness – she will inherit. Auburn brilliantly constructed this play so that it will keep the audience on the edge of their seats.”

Elliot has been a professional theater director for the past 20 years. He came to CSUB in September soon after receiving his doctorate in theater at UCLA.

He directed revivals of Mart Crowley's "The Boys in the Band" in New York and London, and over the years has directed many Off-Broadway plays. In Los Angeles he directed a number of shows, including "Dearly Departed" at the Court Theatre.

“Proof” premiered at the Manhattan Theatre Club in May 2000, and opened at Broadway's Walter Kerr Theatre on Oct. 24, 2000. “Proof” also earned the Tony Award for best play. Additionally, Auburn is the recipient of the Helen Merrill Playwrighting Award, and Joseph Kesselring Prize for Drama.

"Proof" opens in the Arena Theater on the CSUB campus on Monday, Feb. 21 for an eight-performance run. The curtain will rise at 8 p.m. on Monday through Saturday, Feb. 21-26, with matinee performances on Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 26 and 27, beginning at 2 p.m. Cost is $10 general admission, $8 for faculty, staff and senior citizens, and $5 for students with identification.

For tickets or more information, please call the CSUB Theater Department office at (661) 664-3093.



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