Proof (play)
Proof is a play
Play (theatre)
A play is a form of literature written by a playwright, usually consisting of scripted dialogue between characters, intended for theatrical performance rather than just reading. There are rare dramatists, notably George Bernard Shaw, who have had little preference whether their plays were performed...

 by David Auburn
David Auburn
David Auburn is an American playwright.He was raised in Ohio and Arkansas. He attended the University of Chicago, where he was a member of Off-Off Campus, and received a degree in English literature....

 originally produced by the Manhattan Theatre Club
Manhattan Theatre Club
Manhattan Theatre Club is a theater company located in New York City. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Lynne Meadow and Executive Producer Barry Grove, Manhattan Theatre Club has grown since its founding in 1970 from an Off-Off Broadway showcase into one of the country’s most acclaimed...

 on 23 May 2000. It then went to Broadway
Broadway theatre
Broadway theatre, commonly called simply Broadway, refers to theatrical performances presented in one of the 40 professional theatres with 500 or more seats located in the Theatre District centered along Broadway, and in Lincoln Center, in Manhattan in New York City...

 on 24 October 2000 at the Walter Kerr Theatre
Walter Kerr Theatre
The Walter Kerr Theatre is a legitimate Broadway theatre. Located at 219 West 48th Street, it is owned and operated by Jujamcyn Theaters. One of the smaller auditoriums in the theatre district, it seats 975....

, and was directed by Daniel J. Sullivan
Daniel J. Sullivan
Daniel J. Sullivan is an American theatre and film director and playwright.-Life and career:Sullivan was born in Wray, Colorado, the son of Mary Catherine and John Martin Sullivan. He was raised in San Francisco, where he graduated from San Francisco State University...

, with Mary-Louise Parker
Mary-Louise Parker
Mary-Louise Parker is an American actress, known for her current lead role on Showtime's television series Weeds portraying Nancy Botwin, for which she has received several nominations and the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in 2006...

 as Catherine, Larry Bryggman
Larry Bryggman
Larry Bryggman is an American actor.-Early life:Bryggman was born in Concord, California of Swedish descent; his father worked for a neon sign company and his mother was a piano teacher. Bryggman attended the City College of San Francisco as well as the American Theatre Wing in New York...

 as Robert, Ben Shenkman
Ben Shenkman
Benjamin Shenkman is an American television, film and stage actor.-Life and career:Shenkman was born in New York City and raised in what he described as "the secular Eastern European Jewish tradition". He graduated from Brown University, and obtained a Masters of Fine Arts in 1993 from New York...

 as Hal, and Johanna Day as Claire. The entire original Broadway cast received Tony nominations for their performances, with Parker winning. Later during the Broadway run, Jennifer Jason Leigh
Jennifer Jason Leigh
Jennifer Jason Leigh is an American film and stage actress, best known for her roles in Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Single White Female, Last Exit to Brooklyn, Georgia and Short Cuts...

 (September 13, 2001 to June 30, 2002) and Anne Heche
Anne Heche
Anne Celeste Heche is an American actress, director, and screenwriter. She started her career on the daytime soap opera Another World, for which she won a Daytime Emmy Award in 1991. Heche gradually landed supporting roles in feature films, and in 1997 appeared in I Know What You Did Last Summer,...

  took over the lead role. Josh Hamilton
Josh Hamilton (actor)
Josh C. Hamilton is an American actor.Hamilton was born in New York City, New York. His father is actor Dan Hamilton, and his stepmother is actress Stephanie Braxton...

 and Neil Patrick Harris
Neil Patrick Harris
Neil Patrick Harris is an American actor, singer, director, and magician.Prominent roles of his career include the title role in Doogie Howser, M.D., Colonel Carl Jenkins in Starship Troopers, the womanizing Barney Stinson in How I Met Your Mother, a fictionalized version of himself in the Harold...

 subsequently played the role of Hal.

The play won the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for Drama
Pulitzer Prize for Drama
The Pulitzer Prize for Drama was first awarded in 1918.From 1918 to 2006, the Drama Prize was unlike the majority of the other Pulitzer Prizes: during these years, the eligibility period for the drama prize ran from March 2 to March 1, to reflect the Broadway 'season' rather than the calendar year...

 and Tony Award for Best Play
Tony Award for Best Play
The Tony Award for Best Play is an annual award celebrating achievements in live American theatre, including musical theatre, honoring productions on Broadway in New York. It currently takes place in mid-June each year.There was no award in the Tony's first year...



The play concerns Catherine, the daughter of Robert, a recently deceased mathematical genius in his fifties and professor at the University of Chicago
University of Chicago
The University of Chicago is a private research university in Chicago, Illinois, USA. It was founded by the American Baptist Education Society with a donation from oil magnate and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller and incorporated in 1890...

, and her struggle with mathematical genius and mental illness. Catherine had cared for her father through a lengthy mental illness. Upon Robert's death, his ex-graduate student Hal discovers a paradigm-shifting proof about prime numbers in Robert's office. The title refers both to that proof and to the play's central question: Can Catherine prove the proof's authorship? Along with demonstrating the proof's authenticity, the daughter also finds herself in a relationship with 28-year-old Hal. Throughout, the play explores Catherine's fear of following in her father's footsteps, both mathematically and mentally and her desperate attempts to stay in control.

Film adaptation

Gwyneth Paltrow
Gwyneth Paltrow
Gwyneth Kate Paltrow is an American actress and singer. She made her acting debut on stage in 1990 and started appearing in films in 1991. After appearing in several films throughout the decade, Paltrow gained early notice for her work in films such as Se7en and Emma...

 played Catherine in the 2005 film Proof
Proof (2005 film)
Proof is a 2005 American drama film directed by John Madden and starring Anthony Hopkins, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Hope Davis; it was written by Rebecca Miller, based on David Auburn's Pulitzer Prize-winning play of the same title.-Plot:...

, which was directed by John Madden
John Madden (director)
John Philip Madden is an English director of theatre, film, television, and radio.- Biography :Madden was educated at Clifton College. He was in the same house as friend and fellow director Roger Michell. He began his career in British independent films, and graduated from the University of...

. Along with Paltrow, it starred Anthony Hopkins
Anthony Hopkins
Sir Philip Anthony Hopkins, KBE , best known as Anthony Hopkins, is a Welsh actor of film, stage and television...

, Hope Davis
Hope Davis
Hope Davis is an American actress. She has starred in more than 20 feature films, including About Schmidt, Arlington Road, Flatliners, Mumford, American Splendor, The Lodger and Next Stop Wonderland....

, and Jake Gyllenhaal
Jake Gyllenhaal
Jacob Benjamin "Jake" Gyllenhaal is an American actor. The son of director Stephen Gyllenhaal and screenwriter Naomi Foner, Gyllenhaal began acting at age ten...

. The film version added more characters (in minor supporting roles), whereas the play has only four.

Awards and nominations

  • 2001 Drama Desk Award for Best New Play
  • 2001 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Play
  • 2001 New York Drama Critics' Circle Best Play
  • 2001 Pulitzer Prize for Drama
  • 2001 Tony Award for Best Play

External links

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