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Proof by David Auburn
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Proof (2000)

by David Auburn

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If I counted correctly "FUCK" is used 19 times, "God Damm" around 6, and "Jesus" used as a swear word a few times too. It's sad because the basic story is rather good. It suggests if love is based on trust or sex or both what will result? And, what is the best way to handle mental illness? But, there is something else going on in this play. Does Mr. Auburn want to desensitize us to swearing? Does he want the playgoer to leave his values at the theater door as he mocks the God most Americans worship? How politically correct is this play? Well, just look at the awards given it!!! ( )
  ftownsend | Aug 29, 2013 |
A play dealing with mental illness and mathematics. The very idea sounds unworkable but it isn't. The mathematics are not explicated in great detail, and form sort of a silent extra character. The mental illness is more the subject of the play, and the idea of hereditary schizophrenia is touched on here, without any great depth or resolution. The final take home message almost seems to echo that of A Brilliant Mind, as though the writer's of the world were pointing an accusing finger at mathematicians and saying "Crazy!". So, should we ask ourselves, does math make people crazy? Or maybe the question is, do only crazy people love math? Or maybe there's something else altogether that has brought together this convergence of math and mental illness. An interesting play, and one that is worth the time to read. ( )
  quantum_flapdoodle | Jul 28, 2013 |
Downloaded the L.A. Theatre Works version from the library. Would give this four stars, but Anne Heche was very whiny. Suspect I'd have liked it better just reading rather than listening. ( )
  catalogthis | May 6, 2011 |
The Short of It:

A past-paced, gripping play about young woman struggling with the recent loss of her father, the arrival of her uptight sister, and her own self-doubt over whether or not she’s sane.

The Rest of It:

Proof, a play by David Auburn is about a young woman named Catherine, who finds her sanity questionable after caring for, and losing her father to mental illness and heart failure. After spending the last few years frustrated and concerned over her father’s wellbeing and internalizing those feelings, she is suddenly thrust into society and forced to look at herself. We are invited into her world to feel as she does, vulnerable, fragile and completely unsure of herself.

If the storyline sounds familiar to you, you might be remembering the movie which came out in 2005 and starred Gwyneth Paltrow, Jake Gyllenhaal and Anthony Hopkins. As far as adaptations go, the movie was actually pretty good.

I read the play for my Contemporary Lit class and I loved it. It’s filled with conflict and doubt and then there are the conversations that revolve around mathematics (might as well be a different language to me) but they were necessary and powerful in conveying the absolute brilliance of both father and daughter. The main question here is whether or not Catherine has inherited her father’s mental illness as well. Auburn does an excellent job of keeping the reader guessing. It’s a quick read, only 96pp but as soon as I finished it I went right back and read it again.

It’s been a long time since I’ve read a play but it was refreshing and broke up my reading rut. Reading it reminded me of all the drama classes I took in college. So much is left up to your interpretation and I sort of like being challenged that way.

After reading it, I saw the movie and it was really very good. The whole experience was a win-win. ( )
  tibobi | Oct 25, 2010 |
This is one of my favorite plays, about a mathematician's daughters, a former student, and a proof that reveals much about them all. ( )
  wanack | Jun 30, 2010 |
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In memory of Benjamin Auburn (1972-2000)
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Night. CATHERINE sits in a chair. She is exhausted.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0571199976, Paperback)

Proof is the winner of the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

One of the most acclaimed plays of the 1999-2000 season, Proof is a work that explores the unknowability of love as much as it does the mysteries of science.

It focuses on Catherine, a young woman who has spent years caring for her father, Robert, a brilliant mathematician in his youth who was later unable to function without her help. His death has brought into her midst both her sister, Claire, who wants to take Catherine back to New York with her, and Hal, a former student of Catherine's father who hopes to find some hint of Robert's genius among his incoherent scribblings. The passion that Hal feels for math both moves and angers Catherine, who, in her exhaustion, is torn between missing her father and resenting the great sacrifices she made for him. For Catherine has inherited at least a part of her father's brilliance -- and perhaps some of his instability as well. As she and Hal become attracted to each other, they push at the edges of each other's knowledge, considering not only the unpredictability of genius but also the human instinct toward love and trust.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:32:29 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

It focuses on Catherine, a young woman who has spent years caring for her father, Robert, a brilliant mathematician in his youth who was later unable to function without her help. His death has brought into her midst both her sister, Claire, who wants to take Catherine back to New York with her, and Hal, a former student of Catherine's father who hopes to find some hint of Robert's genius among his incoherent scribblings. The passion that Hal feels for math both moves and angers Catherine, who, in her exhaustion, is torn between missing her father and resenting the great sacrifices she made for him. For Catherine has inherited at least a part of her father's brilliance -- and perhaps some of his instability as well. As she and Hal become attracted to each other, they push at the edges of each other's knowledge, considering not only the unpredictability of genius but also the human instinct toward love and trust.… (more)

» see all 2 descriptions

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