Little Willow (slayground) wrote,
Little Willow

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Proof by David Auburn

"I'm sure that if I was a child today, I would be diagnosed with something. I just have this thing for numbers." - Olivia Dunham, Fringe, Season 1, Episode 10: Safe

Once again, Fringe echoes something I've said time and time again.

I like numbers. That's an understatement. I enjoy things pertaining to numbers and patterns. So naturally, when I first heard the premise for the play Proof, I was intrigued - yet I didn't read it or see it until just a few weeks ago!

In 2000, David Auburn's play Proof was produced at the Manhattan Theatre Club. Later that year, it moved to Broadway. In 2001, it was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the Tony Award for Best Play. In 2005, it was adapted for a film. In 2012, I finally saw the piece performed on stage and read it immediately thereafter. I'm really glad that I waited to read it until I saw it, because that allowed the stage production to have a solid impact on me, the elements of discovery and surprise in full effect, rather than knowing what would happen next because I'd read it already.

Proof is the story of Catherine, a twenty-five-year-old dealing a recent loss in her family. The cast is rounded out by her father, Robert; her older sister, Claire; and Hal, her father's former student who is now a teacher in his own right. When Robert, a once-blindly brilliant mathematician and professor, became unable to teach due to a mental illness, Catherine left college and moved home. Being the sole caretaker for her graphomaniac father put a weight on Catherine's shoulders, and that responsibility, coupled with the worry that she might inherit her father's illness, has changed who she is and who she might become. When a mathematical proof is discovered in the household, the characters show their true colors through their reactions and their testaments as to who they trust, what they believe, and why.

Like I said earlier, I like numbers. And I like writing. And I like memory, and memories. And I like plays. (For those of you just tuning in, I'm an actress and a playwright.) And I like it when people trust me, and am heartbroken when I sense distrust, or disappointment, or when people don't realize their true potential. I was drawn into Proof because it addressed a lot of these topics. Even when other characters made me upset, I understood why they reacted or felt the way they did, and I really liked the fact that Catherine stuck to her guns throughout.

My favorite piece of dialogue comes in Act II, Scene 5:
CATHERINE: I'm going to sit quietly on the plane to New York. And live quietly in a cute apartment. And answer Dr. Von Heimlich's question very politely.

CLAIRE: You can see any doctor you like, or you can see no doctor.

CATHERINE: I would like to see a doctor called Dr. Von Heimlich: please find one. And I would like him to wear a monocle. And I'd like him to have a very soft, very well-upholstered couch, so that I'll be perfectly comfortable while I'm blaming everything on you.

So funny. So true.
Tags: books, movies, plays, reviews

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