Winner of the Pulitzer Prize
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 the last several years caring for her father, Robert, a brilliant mathematician in his youth who, in his later years, was unable to function without her help. His death has brought into her midst both her sister, Claire, who wants to take Catherine back with her to New York so that she can live a normal life for the first time, as well as Hal, a former student of Catherine's father who starts going through dozens of Robert's notebooks, hoping to find some hint of his earlier genius in among the incoherent scribblings. The passion that Hal feels for math both moves and angers Catherine, who, in her exhaustion, is torn between missing her loving but unstable 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 and the difficulty of achieving a mathematical proof but also exploring the human instinct toward love and trust—and how impossible it is to know for certain when any of these has been attained.