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Proof Paperback – Jan 2002

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 74 pages
  • Publisher: Dramatist's Play Service (January 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0822217821
  • ISBN-13: 978-0822217824
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 14 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 91 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #44,014 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Library Journal

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study of mathematics to tend to him, claims that she is the author of a mathematical proof found in the attic among his unpublished, mostly incoherent notebooks by Hal, one of his former students.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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

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.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In a very audacious provocative way, David Auburn questions the concept of "normality", converging with the Anti-Psychiatry movement. The counter-hero (the "abnormal" one turns to be the likable hero) while the hero (the "normal" sister appears rather an unpleasant counter-hero!). If he breaks the rule of decency that use to govern the theatre, by making his characters swear and even use the f.... word, it is to enhance their reality and proximity: they could be one of us!
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By Elizabeth S. on June 16 2007
Format: Paperback
Very good play. After reading this, one should see the play or the movie.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 13 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Simply Amazing Jan. 12 2012
By Mark Downing Heese - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Easily one of my favorite plays of all time. A truly fantastic story that hits hard once transferred to the stage. The movie doesn't do it justice and this is a must see at any local college or theatre.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Elegant if Perhaps Slightly Pat Study of the Balance Between Brilliance and Insanity Jan. 31 2010
By Gary F. Taylor - Published on
Format: Paperback
Winner of the 2001 Pulitzer Prize and the Tony Award for best play, PROOF had an extended Broadway success, running 917 performances between October 24 2000 and January 5 2003--no small feat for a drama that encompasses issues of creativity, mental illness, and of all things higher mathmatics.

The overall scope of the play seems generally suggested by the life of John Forbes Nash Jr., a mathmatics genuis who was at the time a "hot" subject due to both a 1994 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences and a 1994 biography by Sylvia Nasar as well as the revelation that his genuis had been gradually overshadowed by significant illness--a combination which attracted Hollywood interest and ultimately resulted in the 2001 Academy Award-winning film A BEAUTIFUL MIND. In PROOF, however, the focus is not a mentally ill mathmatical genius based on Nash, but rather on a daughter who has spent many years caring for precisely such a person and who upon his death must deal with not only grief and uncertainty arising from the loss, but the distinct possibility that she may have inherited from her father not only his talent but his madness as well.

The play, which requires four actors and a single unit set, opens with father Robert and daughter Catherine in conversation on the eve of Catherine's birthday. Although intense, the scene appears quite natural until the fact that Robert is dead arises--and Catherine, startled awake, is left unsure if she has merely dreamed or insanely hallucinated. Catherine must now deal with her estranged sister Claire, who has concerns that Catherine may herself be going mad, and one of her father's former students, Hal, to whom she has grudgingly given permission to sort through the papers her father created during his long years of mental illness. She engages in a brief love affair with Rex, comes to trust him, and gives him a key to a locked drawer. When opened, the drawer contains a mathmatical proof: a theorem concerning prime numbers of astonishing genius that Catherine claims she herself has written. But has she? Or has she appropriated her father's last great work?

The play is remarkably elegant, sparse, lean, and with dialogue that communicates as whole instead of merely indicating. The characters are memorably created and extremely believable, and as such PROOF is a truly memorable play, one that places David Auburn in an elite class of playwrights. At the same time, however, PROOF is very much an "art house" play, and while its success on the New York stage is undeniable, it is difficult to imagine a wider-ranging success (a 2005 film adaptation received generally good reviews but found spare acceptance with the public.) This may be due in part to the fact that the play never really offers an overall or concludng statement about the issues it raises, most specifically the possible connection between intellectual brillance and insanity and the fact that fear of going insane can be as devastating as insanity itself; may also be due to the fact that the overall design is shade too pat and neat for complete emotional plausibility. Strongly recommended nonetheless.

GFT, Amazon Reviewer
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
It Added Up Nov. 10 2010
By Vance - Published on
Format: Paperback
This was a great play to read. Now if only I can find a production. The characters were well-rounded, and the topic absorbing. A play about math! God forbid. But it worked because ultimately it was a play about people and real problems.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
We are SO doing this show! And the humor! Feb. 28 2010
By Mark Bell - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've seen this play twice in the last week, and the movie some time ago. Last week's play in North Hollywood was produced by the actress who played Catherine. She's talented, and doubtless wanted to do the show since it is such a wonderful vehicle for a young woman. She also is in a wheelchair.

What I saw during this show is the nearly continuous humor! Some Amazon reviewers have mentioned the wit -- one calling it sarcasm -- but none have paid it the heed I think it deserves. And that's one of the things about live theater. The humor really comes out, takes a stretch and breathes. Of course it also illuminates the characters, probably much more economically than simple exposition could.

The second production I saw was LACHSAs -- the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts. They staged it with FORTY actors, switching midscene between pairs of students. It was much less jarring than you might think. So that gave us many-more-than-one takes on how an actor might work with the material. Plus these young people got to flex their wings.

So I bought the script from Amazon and will see about producing it. My dad is a PhD mathematician. I'm a middle aged guy. Let's say talentwise I'm at the experienced community theater level. But I have an advantage that may let me do something special with the play.

My daughter is a talented actress. And she's 25.
Clean and Clear Dec 23 2013
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Bought this script for a high school drama student to read, mark up and review. It did the job. Nice size, decent type face, tight binding. No frills paperback, but it did note alternate versions of this play. Everything needed to read/study this modern play in it's stage form. THIS IS NOT THE FILM version. Basic professional script from the experts at producing scripts--Dramatists Pay Service, INC.