Auburn explores themes of family, grief and mental illness. His play introduces two characters of exceptional intelligence and ponders questions of genius and mental illness and where the two collide. The work introduces a fascinating mathematical proof, its authorship and the sacrifices that family make for one another. The play is both humorous and heart-warming and, says Burgess, is a heartbreakingly honest journey through each characters sense of loss.
And you'll never know what else you threw away with them-the work you lost, the ideas you didn't have, discoveries you never made because you were moping in your bed at four in the afternoon." Though this excerpt from David Auburns Proof obviously refers to mathematics, it also seems to have a double meaning in that it also refers to life and how one should live their life.
An enigmatic young woman. A manipulative sister. Their brilliant father. An unexpected suitor. One life-altering question. The search for the truth behind a mysterious mathematical proof is the perplexing problem in David Auburn’s dynamic play. Proof won both a Tony Award for Best Play and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
Later when the Chorus sings the praises of Bacchus and Thebes: "O Bacchus, dweller in Thebes," the purpose is less to counsel specific characters as it is to provide narrative flow and a seemingly purposeless but definitely significant role.
David's Auburn's recent play Proof only contains a cast of four: Claire, Catherine, Hal, and Robert.