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Examiner
  • Small cast sets up City Theatre's drama of 'Proof'

  • About a decade ago, Kim Hentges read the script for “Proof,” and by the second page, she knew the show’s central character was a role she wanted to portray on stage one day.

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  • About a decade ago, Kim Hentges read the script for “Proof,” and by the second page, she knew the show’s central character was a role she wanted to portray on stage one day.
    “It’s definitely a dream role,” says Kim, a Kansas City, Kan., resident who was cast as Catherine in David Auburn’s Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning play that opens tonight at the City Theatre of Independence. “It feels like it’s all been meant to be. The timing was right with the right director, the right supporting cast, and it’s just been perfect.”
    It took Kim several auditions at different area theaters to land the role, but she says it was worth the wait. Compared to many of the shows performed in City Theatre’s 33-year history, “Proof” is relatively new with its original production taking place in May 2000, but this marks its first time on stage at City Theatre.
    With a four-person cast, “Proof” explores themes of family relations and mental illness. In the opening scene, Catherine converses with her father, Robert, who is played by Kim’s husband, Matt Hentges.
    But Robert has recently died of heart failure, and Catherine confronts her own issues while reflecting upon Robert’s mathematical genius and personal madness. Kim called the portrayal of her on-stage father by her real-life husband “an interesting twist.”
    “It was a shock when we found out, and we definitely talked about it a lot before Matt accepted, because I accepted instantly,” Kim says of Matt being cast as Robert. “Playing father and daughter, it’s almost like we have that built-in relationship already. It’s different, obviously, but there’s already that intimacy and that closeness.
    “When you talk about Catherine, how she is a caretaker for her father, you already have that concern that you wouldn’t have with somebody who would be cast whom I had never worked with before.”
    Blue Springs resident Adam Arterbridge, whose most recent City Theatre acting credit was in last March’s “Working,” also is making his main stage City Theatre directorial debut with “Proof.” Because of the small cast, “Proof” allows Arterbridge to sit down and work more one-on-one with actors, a process that he says he thoroughly enjoys.
    “It was much more of a workshop atmosphere,” Arterbridge says, “and as a director, for me, that’s exciting.”
    Like working a mathematical proof, directing is a process, and for Arterbridge, he says a single director’s ideas aren’t always the best and that collaboration often leads to the best end product.
    “I don’t believe you can envision the final product when you begin. I think you have to find the show together, no matter what it is,” he says. “I think we have an exemplary cast. They’re all incredibly talented actors who have worked very hard on the show, more than I could have dreamed to ask them.
    Page 2 of 2 - “Every night in rehearsal, people came in with new stuff that they had come up with on their own. As a director, that’s just the dream.”  
     
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