Proof (A Play) – David Auburn

 Proof (A Play) - David Auburn
Proof (A Play) – David Auburn

Catherine, the twenty-something daughter of an esteemed mathematician, has just laid her father to rest. He died after suffering through a prolonged mental illness. Robert, her father, had once been a gifted, ground-breaking professor. But as he lost his sanity, he lost his ability to coherently work with numbers.

The audience quickly learns that Catherine is brilliant in her own right, but she fears that she might possess the same mental illness which ultimately incapacitated her father. To make matters worse, her older sister wants to take her to New York, where she can be cared for – in an institution if need be. On top of everything else, Hal (a devoted student of Robert’s) searches through the professor’s files hoping to discover something useable so that his mentor’s final years weren’t a complete waste.

That’s when Hal discovers a pad of paper filled with profound, cutting-edge calculations. He incorrectly assumes the work is a product of Robert. In truth, Catherine wrote the mathematic proof. No one believes her. So now she must provide proof that the proof belongs to her. (Note the double-entendre of the title.)

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