Story and photos by QUENTIN AGNELLO
I have seen many live and broadcast productions of theater over the years.
However, none have hit so close to home as “Proof,” a production directed by Gianbari Deebom, 24, and Assistant Director P.J. Peavy, 62.
The plot is about a college student named Catherine. Her father, Robert, is a celebrated mathematician who passes away from a debilitating mental illness.
The inciting conflict of the play is a former student of Robert’s finding a “proof” of an assignment that was supposed to be Catherine’s original work. The rising action revolves around Catherine’s struggle to exonerate herself while also struggling with the thought that she might have the same mental illness that caused her father to spiral into madness in his old age.
This story, written by David Auburn, strikes a nerve for many college students in their first years. Catherine, played by Nickole Custodio, does an incredible job at portraying the character who put her career on hold to support her father.
“They relate to Catherine on many levels,” according to a press release. “They both have been caretakers to family members, and felt that choices were made for them, not by them.”
Deebom elaborated on how she relates to the character.
“As Catherine is a caregiver to her father, I, too, am a caregiver, but to my younger sister, Kpega,” she said.
In a recent email, she wrote about how her sister was born with a rare genetic disease that left her unable to do most things without assistance.
“As the oldest, I helped my parents with my sisters from time to time, but around the age of 7, I was left alone to care for them,” Deebom said.
This shows the deep connection that Deebom has to the production. Peavy, too, has a connection to the play. She said that she also had to care for a member of her family.
“Another degree is identity, finding it, knowing who you are, your purpose and being gifted while that process is interrupted,” Peavy said. “We do what’s needed of us at the moment.”
Deebom explained how relatable the production would be to college students at Pima. She said “everything (the characters) deal with is relatable to students now,” especially with family and romantic drama that adults experience on a regular basis.
“It will resonate with them and hopefully in a beautiful way,” Peavy said.