While one actor will take the ACU stage for the first time, the Department of Theatre’s winter drama, Proof, also serves as a senior’s last performance.
For Jaimie Patterson, senior musical theatre major from Abilene, Proof will be her last performance as a student. Patterson, a teaching minor, plans to student teach after graduating this spring and is currently looking interested in moving to Seattle to pursue acting.
Having played many roles during her time at ACU, this character may be the farthest from Patterson in real life.
Catherine, a 25 year old daughter of a mathematician, is struggling with the recent death of her father and the fear of mental illness.
“Of any part I have ever had, she is as far away from myself as she could be,” Patterson said. “It is fabulous because one of the great things about acting is that you get to understand someone who is totally different from you. You have to get in their mind and you gain this sense of compassion for the character.”
Patterson is most recently known for her role as Brooke in Noises Off last fall.
“It is funny because my last part was Brooke in Noises Off, one of the stupidest character son ACU’s stage, and now I play one of the most intelligent.”
Much of the characters intelligence comes from her father, Robert, who passed away after years of mental illness leaving a room full of cryptic formulas and notebooks.
Robert is played by Michael Duran, a scenic design professor, who came to ACU last August.
“Robert is one of the most brilliant mathematicians of his time,” Duran said. “As time has gone on he has become schizophrenic. He loses track of who he is and what is going on.”
Although different from his real life persona, Duran still connects with what his character is experiencing.
“When I left college, I left as an actor,” Duran said. “I had kind of set that aside, so returning back to it has made me realize how much I have lost over time. So that aspect of what [Robert] has lost and what he had in his youth very much resonates with me.”
During his years in the acting community, Duran has held many roles which include set design and directing but is enjoying a return to acting.
“Ultimately, working with the kids and having the opportunity to have a different relationship with them has been pretty nice,” Duran said.
Proof brings many mature themes to the stage and deals with some of life’s tests.
“Its a play about sacrifice and love and the human struggle,” Duran said. “Its about how we deal with the challenges that happen to us and I think there are so many wonderful things about it.”
Duran, Patterson and the rest of the cast will take the stage this weekend and next with performances each night at 7:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online, by phone or at the box office in the Williams Performing Arts Center.