Review: A contemporary classic, 'Proof' at APT moves like music

Posted October 30, 2023


Lindsay Christians, The Cap Times, October 30, 2023

The mathematicians in David Auburn’s “Proof” talk about equations like they’re works of art.

“Beautiful mathematics,” Catherine says, describing what her professor father searches for. “Answers to everything. The most elegant proofs, perfect proofs, proofs like music.”

This could also describe Auburn’s play, running in American Players Theatre’s indoor Touchstone space through Nov. 19. Full of tenderness and humor, “Proof” moves like a contemporary classic.

“Proof” had a moment some 20 years ago. Dozens of productions of Auburn’s Tony- and Pulitzer Prize-winning play went up in the early 2000s, including one at the defunct Madison Repertory Theatre. Gwyneth Paltrow and Jacob Gyllenhaal starred in a 2005 film version.

Artistic director Brenda DeVita leads an excellent ensemble cast here, anchored by Kelsey Brennan’s arch, fiercely intelligent Catherine. At 25, Catherine has spent the last five years caring for her deteriorating father Robert (David Daniel), a venerated educator at the University of Chicago whose mental illness has left him unable to teach.

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