‘Proof’: relevant and related

‘Proof’ at RAAC

Performance at 8 p.m. Friday, April 22, and again the following weekend, at 8 on Saturday, April 30, at the RAAC Community Theatre, 310 Gay St., Washington. Tickets are $15. For reservations: 540-675-3193 or raactheatre@yahoo.com.

From contributed reports
On April 22 and 30, the RAAC Theatre moves into new territory with a production of “Proof,” a play that in 2001 won three “Best Play” awards and the Pulitzer Prize for drama. Unlike the theater’s recent comedic productions, while “Proof” has moments of humor, the play asks fundamentally serious questions.

Also, the father and daughter in the play are acted by a Rappahannock father and daughter, Erin Switzer and Andy Platt.

Both say they are finding the experience nothing but enjoyable.

“I had never done any acting – not even in high school,” says Platt. “I’m not a ham and I’m not even funny, unlike some of the characters I have played.” Asked where his talent for acting comes from, Platt theorizes: “Life in general is just an act, isn’t it? I mean, we’re all making it up as we go.”

Platt’ s formal entry into acting came when his friend and neighbor, Joyce Abell, asked him to be in a public reading of “Under Milkwood,” which she directed.

He says it was the perfect introduction, “I had three roles, so I got to experience three different characters. And because the play was read, there was no memorization.”

Erin Switzer as Catherine and Andy Platt as Robert rehearse a scene from the RAAC Community Theatre's upcoming "Proof." Photo by E. Raymond Boc.

Since then, Platt has appeared in almost every subsequent RAAC production. “Once people in the local community think you can act, you’re done,” he says, “because they just grab onto you and never let you get away.”

Switzer’s path was a little different. “I’d seen my dad in ‘Under Milkwood,’ and I thought it looked like fun,” she says. “When I saw in the Rappahannock News that there were going to be auditions for the “Shepherds’ Play,” I thought, ‘Well, maybe I should try it!’ I did, and I ended up playing Mary.”

Switzer since has appeared in one of the short Chekov plays and in the December production of “A Christmas Carol.”

When asked what makes participating in the theater worth doing, Platt says, “While you are investing an enormous amount of time, you are working with others who share an interest with you and who are all committed to the activity.” Switzer agrees, “The cast become like a family; we’ve both made good friends through the theater.”

Platt and Switzer says they find their offstage relationship has little effect on how they play the roles they are assigned in “Proof.”

“I’m not sure how much it contributes,” Platt says. “I don’t think it gets in the way.”

“It’s a fantastic play,” Platt says of “Proof.” “Every time I read it, I see things that I missed before.” And the cast, he says, “are all committed to this project and committed to our characters. I believe that will shine through for the audience.”

“Proof” follows four vibrant, complex characters as they explore issues of trust, relationship and of the consequences that flow from interpretations of truth. It is directed by Peter Hornbostel and, in addition to Switzer and Platt, stars Austen Cloud and Patty Hardee.

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