The play is about a young woman, Catherine, her sister, Claire, and a young man, Hal, who studied under her father, Robert and their search for the truth about a mathematical proof. The main character, Catherine, is a confused and disturbed young woman who gave up her own dreams to care for her dying father. Catherine has spent the past five years taking care of her mentally ill father, and when he dies her sacrifices are completely under appreciated.
Her sister, Claire, wants Catherine to come to New York where she can keep an eye on Catherine. Then there is Hal who plays Catherine romantic interest. With Hal, Catherine gets a change to claim herself as a mathematician of her father’s statue. The conflict comes when she generates a mathematical proof that might revolutionize mathematics. Yet Claire and Hal do not believe her and question whether she is trying to pass off her father’s work as her own.
John Lee Beatty’s back-porch set indicates Robert and Catherine’s living space through windows and screen doors. You could fell fall on the stage with a few leaves on the porch and some naked trees of to the side. Pat Collins’ lighting is especially effective in the play. To fit the Walter Kerr stage, the porch appears to have been stretched out with neighbors’ houses on either side.
My personal reaction to this play was a good one. I truly believe that the entire production and the success of this play is dependent on Mary-Louis Parker’s performance, since there isn’t a single other performer in this play that could come even close to her stunning presence. The dullest character in the play would have to be Hal played by Ben Shenkman. Also I found that while I actually enjoyed “Proof” and I don’t think I would want to see another one.