Math meets mystery in NE Theater’s Proof

The mysteries of genius and the human heart collide in unexpected ways when the Northeast State Theater Department stages the Pulitzer Prize-winning play Proof on March 15, 16, and 17 at 7:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. on March 17 and 18.

The play is being directed by Elizabeth M. Sloan.

“I have always wanted to direct this show,” said Sloan, “It is a fantastic glimpse into human relationships. We are having a blast exploring these characters and this beautifully written play.”

Written by David Auburn and set in Chicago, the play follows Catherine, a brilliant but depressed college-dropout wrangling with family and psychological issues.  Her father Robert, a former genius of a mathematician who suffered from mental illness, has recently died. He appears in the play talking to Catherine, who stayed at home and cared for her father until his death.

As preparations are made for the funeral and Catherine’s sister Claire returns from New York, Catherine forms a tentative friendship with Hal, a mathematician who is one of her father’s former students.  The plot shifts into high gear when Hal discovers that Robert left behind a proof of a mathematical theorem that mathematicians had thought impossible. It is an astonishing discovery, but Catherine shocks Hal by claiming she wrote the proof.  But did she?

The daughter of a mathematical genius must navigate numbers, love, and her troubled past in Proof.

As the mystery develops and resolves, the play explores the link between genius and madness and whether either or both can be inherited. Proof also tells a story about human relationships, and how trust and love can be as difficult, and just as uncertain, as establishing the truth of a mathematical proof.

All performances will be held in the Northeast State Auditorium of the Students Building on the main campus at Blountville, adjacent to Tri-Cities Regional Airport. The play has a cast of four and the action of the play takes place on a back porch so the Auditorium is a perfect place for this intimate show.

The play features adult language and is not recommended for children under age 16.  Buy advance tickets online now at  All tickets are $5 for general admission.  Admission is free to Northeast State students with a valid current student ID.

For more information, e-mail or call 423.354.2479.

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