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‘Proof’ Actor/Director Charts Journey to Opening Night

This week, Student Activities will present its first in a series of three plays to be produced during the 2006-07 academic year: “Proof,” by David Auburn, kicks off the season at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday in the ACC Auditorium. Admission is free. PCToday continues a weeklong reflection by cast members, today offering insight from Kevin A. Hickman.

Award-winnign drama to be staged on campus this weekend.“Tech Week” for a theatrical production is one of the most grueling, frustrating, complex, physically and psychological draining times for the actors of a production, and even more so for the director. When the director also is an actor, it is a miracle his mental capability is even functioning. Well, that is the challenge that I had this week.

My name is Kevin A. Hickman, and theatre has been an important part of my life for many years. I have learned through these years that, no matter how much knowledge I accumulate, if I do not understand how to communicate with people, my knowledge has no value. That is why it has been my privilege to direct “Proof” and bring it to the Penn College community.

This has been a bittersweet week for me. It has been crazy. I have been up every night memorizing lines, designing lights, picking out music, studying and averagingthree hours of sleep, which really is not new for my life since I’m a junior physician assistant student.

At the same time, I have realized this journey is coming to an end and the equation is almost solved. Through all the stresses of this week, I fell into the trap that many others have when working on a production. I became so caught up in the technical and logistic aspects of the production, I forgot the main purpose. It was not until a reminder earlier this week from a professor, and ultimately a friend, that I got back on the path.

“Find joy every day” was the message Bruce Wehler recently delivered in the “My Last Words” series: “Surely, Joy Is the Condition of Life!” It was from those words I was reminded of my purpose for this production: Itbrings me joy. The joy this cast and production has given me was the driving force through it all, regardless of how hidden it was at times. Ironically, it was listening to that presentation that led me to find the true messageof “Proof.”It had been sitting in front of me for the past six months, lost in the complex equation Mr. Auburn so eloquently wrote in his script.

“Chew off more then you can handle, and then chew it!” Wehler spoke those words during his closing remarks, the same words that are uttered through this entire play. Stand up against all odds, do what you know is right in your heart and follow it through to its completion. Those are the simple overlooked messages that I hope audiences leave with after seeing “Proof” this weekend.

Thank you to all that have laid down canvas for this cast to create a masterpiece on. Please come out and support a movement, as we begin our journey to enrich the lives of our community.

“Proof” is the first in a series of modern plays that Student Activities is sponsoring this year. It runs at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday in the ACC Auditorium. Doors open at 7 p.m.; admission is free.

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