Using an atmosphere or background in which mathematics is prevalent - but not entirely so in respects to clearly jotted out theorems and formulas (for everything that is math oriented in this drama is rather undefined and ambigous) - the play's theme(s) gyrate around one central character: twenty-five-year-old Catherine, her dad's care provider and an unknown math genius and three strong supporting characters, sometimes very aseptic and in other turns quite audacious: Robert, the Dad, a former math professor/academic math celebrity, in his fifties, Hal, twenty-five, a semi-carefree educator and graduate student under Robert and lastly, Claire, twenty-nine, a nagging sister to Catherine and daughter of Robert.
When one thinks of super bookishly or scholastically (research-wise, that is) gifted individuals, it is normally believed that folks of this nature tend to lean towards the sidelines - to a realm of reflective alienation and unavoidable, suffocating derangement: madness through and through. This is a commonly held perception that is strongly associated to those rare math demigods/goddesses. They are deemed (but not always) as shy, introverted, awkward, asexual social oddities who are mentally a tad off kilter in the world of beer slurping, vulgar/inelegant party celebrants. However, the Hal character in the play mitigates that academic myth....
Proof, in essence, is almost written like a mathematical illustration or equation. The play - scene by scene - is broken up like a puzzle; it flutters backward and forward. And you have to go back, like in a math problem, in order to solve it.
Whatever Proof is, there is no denying that it is a startling, shotgunning drama that is worthy of vast readership. That alone is the highest complement one can pay to an author.
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