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Adult/High School-Twenty-five-year-old Catherine, who sacrificed college to care for her mentally ill father (once a brilliant, much-admired mathematician), is left in a kind of limbo after his death. Socially awkward and a bit of a shut-in, she is gruff with Hal, a former student who shows up even before the funeral wanting to root through the countless notebooks her father kept in the years of his decline, hoping to find mathematical gold. On the heels of his arrival comes Claire, Catherine's cosmopolitan, blandly successful, and pushy sister, with plans to sell their father's house and take Catherine (whom she's convinced has inherited a touch of their father's illness) with her back to New York. Catherine does not want to leave, and things become more complicated as she and Hal tentatively begin to develop a relationship. She gives him the key to a drawer in her father's desk, where the "gold" waits-in the form of a notebook filled with the most original and astonishing mathematical proof Hal has seen in years. Thrilled, he wants to take immediate steps to have the proof published in her father's name, until Catherine shocks both him and Claire by declaring that she is its author. Hal's harsh incredulity pushes Catherine into an indifferent funk, sorely disappointed by the insult of having to prove her honesty to a friend she had trusted. There is much to appeal to YAs in this Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning play, which crackles with subtle wit while tackling large questions.
Emily Lloyd, Fairfax County Public Library, VA
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
After the death of her mathematical genius father, Catherine, who gave up her own study of mathematics to tend to him, claims that she is the author of a mathematical proof found in the attic among his unpublished, mostly incoherent notebooks by Hal, one of his former students. But what "proof" does Catherine have that she, and not her father, is the author? Her older sister, home to attend the funeral, doubts her claim and, in fact, doubts Catherine's own sanity. Hal, who has professional ambitions of his own, isn't exactly disinterested and may not be trustworthy; his sleeping with Catherine has also complicated the issue. The elusiveness of genius in general and the difficulty of a mathematical proof in particular here become metaphors for the uncertainties of love, trust, and personal integrity. This wonderful play has already won the Kesselring Prize for Auburn, also a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship. Proof's deft dialog, its careful structure, and the humanity of the central characters are themselves proof of a major new talent in the American theater. Strongly recommended for all drama collections. Robert W. Melton, Univ. of Kansas Libs., Lawrence
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
When I had to read a play for my drama class, my drama teacher handed me this play which I didn't have much hope for. Read morePublished on April 9 2004
IF you are into sarcastic humor and enjoy some dry wit this is a book for you. Short w/ the sweet and sour sauce it will fit your taste buds to a T. Awesome readPublished on Dec 17 2003 by lizbeth
I have read David Auburn's play, and saw it on Broadway with Jennifer Jason Leigh in the lead. Even though the performance I saw was less than stellar, the brilliance of the... Read morePublished on March 14 2003 by K. Schwarting
David Auburn should be congratulated for having achieved the nearly impossible, writing a play every bit as boring and every bit as successful as the soporific... Read morePublished on July 6 2002 by Stanley H. Nemeth
The story of Proof somehow jumped at me like no other play had before. I have seen the play twice. I didn't see it in New York, but I saw the first regional production of the play... Read morePublished on June 5 2002 by W. Norris
David Auburn tells a very human tale of genius and mathematical discovery in the context of the larger struggle of finding a place for oneself. Read morePublished on April 22 2002 by Bukkene Bruse
Not since David Hirson's brilliant La Bete and Wrong Mountain has Broadway seen a more exciting play than Proof! Read morePublished on April 4 2002