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Article

Proof

Posted on

Proof

type:
Stage
Current Status:
In Season
performer:
Mary-Louise Parker
director:
Daniel Sullivan
author:
David Auburn

We gave it an A

If you’ve seen a better new play this year, call me; if you’ve seen a better lead performance in your lifetime, you’ve seen plays I haven’t seen. From the moment that Mary-Louise Parker speaks her first lines, she inhabits the role of the daughter of a disturbed genius the way the heart inhabits the chest. What’s most remarkable about her acting is how there’s not a trace of acting in it. When she erupts in rage at her overbearing sister, you wince in pained empathy; when she seduces her father’s student (the excellent Ben Shenkman), you want (vainly) to avert your eyes from the scene’s breathtaking intimacy ā€” despite the fact that it’s played fully clothed and consists of but two brief kisses. It’s unfair (and needlessly intimidating) to say David Auburn’s first commercially produced play ā€” he’s just 31 ā€” is about a mathematician and his daughter, when at its core it’s actually about the complications and consequences of familial love. Only a somewhat pat ending mars this stimulating, moving, and ultimately thrilling evening. Check that: Not even a somewhat pat ending does it damage. This Proof is bulletproof. A