ACT News


FREEFALL presents David Auburn's Proof at the Q with Ylaria Rogers

Proof. By David Auburn. Originally directed by Derek Walker. Tour director Tyran Parke. FREEFALL Productions. The Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre. March 14-17. Tickets $52/$47.

Ron Cerabona

Former Canberra actor Ylaria Rogers is returning to the region professionally for the first time with her theatre company FREEFALL Productions. They're touring the 2001 Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning play Proof - a work which has particular resonance for her.

Derek Walker, who co-founded the company with her and directed the production in its initial Sydney season a couple of years ago, suggested Proof, she says. It struck an immediate chord with her.

"I'd looked after my dad when he was very sick."

Proof deals with a number of subjects, among them the challenges of caring for an ailing parent. Robert (Gerard Carroll) was a brilliant young mathematician who revolutionised the field twice before he was 22 but as he grew older became increasingly mentally unstable. His younger daughter Catherine (Rogers) - who may have inherited some of his genius but also wonders if she might also have his instability - withdrew from her own career prospects to take care of him at home in Chicago. Her older sister Claire (Julie Christensen) visits from New York, where she has used her own facility with numbers to make money. She also has a partner, which Catherine does not.


"They're resentful of each other," Rogers says of the siblings.

While the sisters agree their father needs to be looked after, they disagree on the best way to do it - Claire thinks he should be in professional care, while Catherine thinks he's better off with her and sees her sister's view as an adverse judgment on her abilities

"What are we giving up by caring?" is one of the questions the play asks," Rogers says. But it's about much more than that, she says. It deals with issues of trust, of the place of women in mathematics, of relationships, and the nature of genius.

. Into the tense family situation comes Hal (Alex Brown), one of Robert's former students, who hopes to find a hint of the former genius in the 103 notebooks of incoherent scribblings the older man has produced.

When something significant does turn up, other questions arise that need to be addressed.

Rogers says the play - which ran for more than 900 performances on Broadway in its original production - was well received when FREEFALL first presented it at the New Theatre in Sydney.

She had met Walker in Canberra when they were both in Urinetown the Musical. He went on to do the directing course at the National Institute of Dramatic Arts and worked on such musicals as King Kong and Once and she studied musical theatre at the Australian Institute of Music and did independent work in Sydney before they decided to found FREEFALL.

For this tour, Carroll replaced the original Robert but otherwise the previous cast has been reassembled. Because Walker is overseas, Tyran Parke is the tour director.