Keria Keeley and Megan Byrne rehearse Proof as director Christian Parker, top right, looks on.
Keria Keeley and Megan Byrne rehearse Proof as director Christian Parker, top right, looks on. (photo/Meghan Moore)

LOWELL -- Christian Parker attended plays at Merrimack Repertory Theatre when he was a kid. The Andover native is back in town making his directorial debut at MRT with David Auburn's Proof.

The Tony Award-winning play opens in previews Thursday, March 21, to the press on Sunday, March 24, and runs through April 14.

Parker has a long history with Proof, since he was one of the first people to read the play in 2000.

"David has been a friend of mine for years and I was among the first people to read the play when he wrote it," said Parker, who was working as the literary manager at the Manhattan Theatre Club when Auburn created Proof.

"My job was to find new work and David sent this to us. He'd written it in three weeks and I knew it was special," said Parker. "I advocated for its production and had the great fortune to serve as the dramaturge on the original production when MTC did it and moved it to Broadway. "

Proof is about Catherine, a young woman who must establish the authorship of a mathematical proof found in the office of her brilliant, but troubled father, who has died. The return of her estranged sister and a romance with her father's former student further complicates her pursuit of truth.

"Mathematics is the thematic glue, but the play is about sibling conflict. It amounts to a simple story and trusts the audience to be as smart as it is," said Parker, noting that Proof "launched Auburn's career."


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He is thrilled to be directing a play he cares so much about close to his hometown and has invited Auburn to attend a performance.

Parker is also associate artistic director of the Atlantic Theatre Company in New York and chairman of the graduate programs in theater at Columbia University.

Tickets start at $20 at www.MRT.org or call 978-654-4678.

On the Marquee

  • BARNYARD ANTICS: Theatre With a Twist presents On the Other Side of the Fence as its spring musical. Set in a barnyard, it's about making friends and working together. Performances at Maynard High School, 1 Tiger Drive, Maynard on Friday, March 22, 7 p.m.; Saturday, March 23, at 2, 4:30 and 7 p.m., and Sunday, March 24, at 2 and 4:30 p.m. $13; $11 for students/seniors at door.
  • DR. SEUSS LIVE: ACT Theater Company brings Seussical the Musical to audiences this weekend at Sullivan Middle School, 150 Draper St., Lowell. The musical by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty features beloved Dr. Seuss characters. Performances Fri.-Sat., March 22-23, at 7 p.m. and Sun., March 24, at 2 p.m. www.actandover.com for info.

Nancye Tuttle's email is nancyedt@verizon.net.