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Masque Theatre Brings ‘Proof’ to Temple Terrace

The highly-acclaimed Broadway show debuts Oct. 5.

A Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning play is soon to grace the Lightfoot Recreation Center stage.

Debuting on Oct. 5, Masque Community Theatre will present “Proof,” a work by playwright David Auburn, which premiered Off-Broadway in 2000 and later that year opened on Broadway where it ran for 917 performances.

In 2005, it was adapted into a film and starred Gwyneth Paltrow, Anthony Hopkins, Hope Davis and Jake Gyllenhaal.

The production will run each Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. through Oct. 21. It is meant for mature audiences due to its adult theme and dialogue. It is not recommended for children younger than 17.

“Proof” is wrapped around Catherine, 25, who was the primary caretaker of her father Robert, a college professor and mathematical genius, until to his death in his mid-50s. She and those closest to her struggle with the thought that she may have inherited the same mental illness that he had.

Hal, a 28-year-old former graduate student of Robert’s and now high school math teacher was in awe of the man’s brilliance and hoped to uncover more of his valuable work amongst the scores of notebooks he’d left behind.

During a weekend visit to Robert’s home after he died, Hal discovered a book of mathematical theorems that show some proof of what he deemed were the man’s incredible intellectual abilities.

But to his surprise it is Catherine, with whom he has developed a burgeoning romance during his stay, who lays claim to what is thought to be her father’s remarkable piece of work.

Is it true or could she have been left a victim of Robert’s madness?

The show’s four-member, widely experienced cast hails from throughout the Tampa Bay area, and the director is a Temple Terrace resident and a well-seasoned Masque Community Theatre participant.

Catherine is played by Jessica Eastridge, a Tampa resident formerly from Polk County who acted in high school, college and other community theater productions prior to auditioning for her first Masque performance.

She’s seen both the play and the movie several times and said she thinks everyone who attends the show can in some way relate to the “struggles and hurts” her character experiences.

“There is both drama and comedy in it, and I would give it a ‘two thumbs up,’” Eastridge said. “It’s a must see.”

Nicu Brouillette, a New Tampa resident and Masque theatre veteran, is cast as Hal. He is enrolled at Hillsborough Community College and said he has hopes of attending the University of South Florida and majoring in music education.

“I love Masque, and it is an honor to be in this show,” said Brouillette, a Berkeley Preparatory School graduate with several years of acting experience to his credit.

It is also Kristy Craig’s first Masque performance. The South Tampa resident studied theater at West Chester University of Pennsylvania and has acted Off-Broadway in New York City and played several roles in other community theater productions.

For the past 10 years, she’s worked as program director at Academy Prep Center, an Ybor City college-preparatory middle school for low-income students.

In the Masque production, Craig plays Claire, the take-charge, no-nonsense older sister of Catherine. As a young adult, she left her father and sister behind to make a life for herself in New York City.

Director Jennifer Pena is a Temple Terrace resident and mother of three, who has acted in, produced and directed several other Masque productions. She said she is thrilled to be at this play’s helm. She was attracted to “Proof” because of its many awards and accolades.

“It has a little bit of everything in it, and it’s an actors’ play,” she said. “I think this cast comes with a great deal of experience. They’ve come as actors and they’ve come with enthusiasm.”

Tickets are $14 for adults and $12 for students, seniors and members of the military. For more information, call the Masque box office at 813-983-1710 or visit Masque Community Theatre online.

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