By Michele Markarian
“Proof” – Written by David Auburn. Directed by Michelle M. Aguillon. Set Design by Janie E. Howland. Sound Design by Grant Furgiuele. Presented by The Nora Theatre Company, Central Square Theater, 450 Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge through February 18.
Nothing grows well under the shade of a big tree, as any relative or friend of a largely accomplished person will tell you. Robert (Michael Tow), a recently deceased mathematician and single father of two grown daughters, is that tree. Robert is a star at the University of Chicago, revered by the community there for formulas he discovered in his early twenties. Mental illness has incapacitated him in the years before he died, forcing his younger daughter, Catherine (Lisa Nguyen) to drop out of Northwestern and care for him. Older daughter Claire (Cheryl Daro), living in New York, has given financial support to the family but little else. As Claire returns to Chicago for the funeral, she and Catherine have very different ideas of the direction Catherine’s life needs to take. In the meantime, a former student of Robert’s, Hal (Avery Bargar) has offered to carefully comb through an extensive series of notebooks Robert has left behind, scribblings he composed while Catherine was taking care of him.