Last week’s run of Proof at Mainstage 2015 in Kamloops was the play’s best performance ever, said Williams Lake Studio Theatre director Sheryl-Lynn Lewis.
“We left it all behind on the stage that night,” Lewis said during an interview Thursday. “The actors let themselves go deeper and be more vulnerable than they’d ever been.”
In awarding Jay Goddard Best Supporting Actor for his role as Robert, adjudicator Fran Gebhard said his portrayal of the character made the rest of the play possible, even though he was only in three scenes, Lewis said.
And overall, Gebhard applauded all the actors for being believable in their roles.
When the crew met with Gebhard for a coffee critique the next day, she gave them some pointers on blocking, particularly using punctuation as a guide.
“Instead of sitting down mid-sentence, she suggested to wait for the period,” Lewis said, adding some of the suggestions were about better controlling the movement of actors and helping them find stillness on the stage.
One of the scenes in the play where Lewis took advantage of stillness was when Catherine, played by Bobbie-Jo Macnair, was reading some of her father Robert’s complex mathematical formula notes.
As she stands absolutely still for three to four minutes, Robert is standing perfectly still behind her.
“When Catherine realizes his writing is nonsense, she closes the book and the audience, also frozen, realizes what’s happening,” Lewis said, noting it was just as powerful in front of the 250 people watching the play in Kamloops as it was in the intimate theatre in Williams Lake.
Curt Sprickerhoff also won for Best Sound Design, particularly for how the soundscape carried the audience from one scene to the next.
“We took a risk, even using voices in the head, and things like that,” Lewis said of the sound design.
Jumping back in the director’s chair for the first time in a decade was a good experience, Lewis said.
“It always felt like we were a team. It was a lot of work, but so much fun to be a part of.”
In choosing the play, she was drawn to its exploration of family relationships and how the past and present are interwoven throughout the story.
Besides, it’s a Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning play, she smiled.
On Thursday evening the crew was putting away the set and then settling in to watch the movie version of Proof starring Gwyneth Paltrow, Anthony Hopkins, Jake Gyllenhaal and Danny McCarthy.
“We’ll jeer and throw popcorn and say all the lines out loud,” Lewis chuckled.
Aside from Proof winning two awards, WLST’s Mary-Jo Hilyer won a graphics award for Best Program for this year’s production of Still Stands the House and Brad Lawryk won a graphic award for Best Website.
Lewis also invited everyone to a script reading event Sunday, July 19 at the studio in the former Glendale elementary school on Mackenzie Avenue beginning at 5 p.m.
People interested in attending must RSVP firstname.lastname@example.org so the cook will know how many burgers to barbecue.