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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, May 9, 2003

Coming home to find solace after 9/11

By Wayne Harada
Advertiser Entertainment Writer

Linda Johnson, standing, and Laura Bach rehearse a scene from "Proof," the Pulitzer Prize-winning drama by David Auburn.

Eugene Tanner • The Honolulu Advertiser


A Pulitzer Prize-winning drama by David Auburn, produced by Manoa Valley Theatre

Premieres at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday; repeats at 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 4 p.m. Sundays, through June 1

Manoa Valley Theatre

$25 ($5 discount for seniors and military), $10 for those 25 and younger


Laura Bach, a Kuli'ou'ou actress who trekked to New York City to test the acting waters, is back home and will perform in Manoa Valley Theatre's "Proof," beginning Wednesday.

She couldn't be happier.

"The script is really engaging," she said of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play by David Auburn, "and it's just loaded with emotions."

The play enables her to revisit her acting foundation — she was classically trained at the Academy of Music and Dramatic Art in London — and rediscover the solace that is Hawai'i after the events of 9/11.

"I had to come home," she said. "I realized that after the terrorism, New York was not a place for me to live. I was in Astoria, in Queens, in my bed, when it all happened. Obviously, I changed; the people of New York became vigilant, like they had horse blinders on. Life was so fast-paced, there was little joy."

She had worked as a producer in New York and did some acting with the Second Generation, Welly Yang's group that performed in Hawai'i last year (she wasn't part of the visiting crew), and as a company manager at Tiffany for 2 1/2 years.

"But it was time for me to find something else, and I went into massage therapy at the Hawai'i Healing Arts College in Kailua. And now I'm licensed."

"Proof" focuses on the madness and death of a famous mathematician, his student and his two daughters, one of whom may have inherited either his genius or his illness, or both. The story explores authorship of a key mathematical proof, combining elements of a whodunnit with a simple family yarn.

Bach had seen Mary Louise Parker, who created the role of Catherine in "Proof" in New York, and she was intrigued by the craftsmanship of the play. Now she gets to put her imprint on the role.

"She's a volatile character, with so many different energies coming at you all at once, and what drew me in was the way she spent her energies, not taking care of herself. In that respect, she was dealing with everyone's interest but her own. Yet she herself needed to be nurtured."

Nurturing is what Bach is doing for herself with this play, which has a four-member cast including actor-educator-director Linda Johnson, who has stepped in at the last minute to replace an actress who had to bow out for family reasons.

"Linda plays my older sister (Claire) and she herself has a sister, so it's working out well," said Bach.

Johnson said it's no picnic doing double duty. "Once the show is up and running, I know I'll have fun," said Johnson. "But I want to be a director first; I don't want to desert my actors. I've been working on my lines, recorded on a tape, in my car."

She said she fits the Claire sister role. "I have a younger sibling and I like to think I'm a loving, older sister," said Johnson. "Claire wants a little bit of control over her sister, to control her destiny, and yes, an older sister does that."

The ensemble cast also includes Craig Howes as Robert and Brent Yoshikami as Hal.