University of South Florida

School of Theatre & Dance

College of the Arts


TheatreUSF presents Proof.


By David Auburn
Presented by the John Holloway Endowment, Fall 2011

Directed by Lisa Powers Tricomi
Scenic Design: Molly Bailey
Costume Design: Amanda Dobrzeniecki
Lighting Design: Anthony J. Vito
Sound Design: Jamey Feshold

Two women are locked in conversation. One woman looks indignant as another woman is angling her neck toward the first as she holds open a notebook as if she were reading it aloud and paused to speak.
An old man sits in a chair looking low and outward toward stage left. While a younger man and woman sit behind him at a table, looking at the older man. The woman has a look of soft amazement on her face while the young man smiles.
Five characters, three women and two men, sit in four porch chairs and a lounge chair in a line on stage. They all face toward the middle as if they are having a conversation with each other.
A woman reads a composition book while sitting on a porch chair while a young man sits slightly elevated next to her, holding the back of her chair with his right hand and resting his left hand on his left knee as he talks with the woman.

The second play of the TheatreUSF season and of the yearlong, campus-wide initiative Science, Art, and Culture: An Eternal Braid will be Proof, written by David Auburn. Winner of both the Tony Award and the Pulitzer Prize in 2001. TheatreUSF’s production was directed by 2012 John W. Holloway Endowed Chair guest artist Lisa Powers Tricomi.

The play examines the relationship between Robert, a recently deceased mathematical genius, and his daughter Catherine, who cared for him during his lengthy mental illness. Upon the discovery of a paradigm-shifting proof about prime numbers in Robert's office, the question of authorship arises. The title refers both to that proof and to the play's central issue: How does one prove who wrote the proof?