Post date: November 1, 2004

On November 5, Harvard Law School will kick off four performances of David Auburn’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play “Proof.” Professor Bruce Hay will direct a cast of four in the play that tells the story of a young woman who drops out of school to care for her father, a once-brilliant mathematician who succumbed to schizophrenia in later life. After her father’s death, an extraordinary mathematical proof is discovered in his study. The young woman claims it is her work, but is disbelieved by friends and family, and she has no way of “proving” the proof is hers.

“I chose the play because it brings into sharp relief one of the central problems that we study at law school, even though the play itself has nothing to do with law or legal proceedings,” said Hay. “The problem I have in mind is moral and factual ambiguity.”

The production, which features two HLS students, one Graduate School of Education student, and one former Graduate School of Arts & Sciences student, is the second in a series of on-campus plays that Hay is planning to produce in the coming years. Last year, Hay directed a version of The Crucible that included a scene not used in previous productions.

Hay’s production of “Proof” will also differ than how the play is typically performed. “The script makes it possible, if you want to, to resolve the uncertainties in the story line, and end with a nice feeling of closure. I think some productions have taken that approach, neatly tying up all the loose ends. But I think the play works better if it leaves the big questions unanswered. That’s what I think the play is fundamentally about: loose ends that stay open.”

Performances will be held on Nov. 5, 6, 12 and 13 at 7:30 p.m. in Ames Courtroom in Austin Hall. Tickets, which are $6 for the general public and $5 for students, can be purchased at the door or reserved ahead of time by emailing

A civil procedure and litigation expert with an interest in law and literature, Hay has been a member of the Harvard Law faculty since 1992 when he became an assistant professor of law. He received tenure in 1998. The Crucible is believed to be the first faculty-led dramatic production at HLS.