A Play

Book - 2001
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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.

Publisher: New York : Faber and Faber, c2001
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780571199976
Characteristics: 83 p. ; 21 cm


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FindingJane Nov 01, 2014

“Proof” is about familial relations and mathematical quantities. It’s about appearances and their deceptions. The audience loyalties shift back and forth as the depths of each character reveal or conceal themselves. Claire initially comes off as being an overbearing sheep, a Glinda-type sweetheart who hides her meanness and machinations under smiles, polite language and offerings of aid…or is she? Then we see that Catherine is a shrill woman prone to drunkenness, laziness and perhaps suffering the first stages of the mental illness that destroyed their father…or is she? Is Harold Dobbs a bewildered bystander to their family tussle or a worried academic trying to steal someone else’s brilliant idea?

The play witnesses the frustrations of people attempting to communicate, fail, try again and again to connect. They question each other’s motivations, acts and intentions. It’s a shining little jewel of a play. Even though reading it cannot convey the fullness of its power, “Proof” delivers in its reading because of the strength of its characters and their interactions with each other.

Dec 06, 2007

Winner of the 2001 Pulitzer prize for drama.


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