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A Number

A Number
Your Price: $16.95 CDN
Author: Caryl Churchill
Publisher: Nick Hern Books
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 62
Pub. Date: 2002
ISBN-10: 1854597434
ISBN-13: 9781854597434
Cast Size: 2 men

About the Play:

Winner of the 2002 Evening Standard Award for Best Play

A Number is a full-length drama by Caryl Churchill. How might a son feel to discover that he is only one of a number of identical copies? Bernard thought he was an only child. One day he learns the shocking truth: he is just one of a number of clones. Together, he and his father confront epic questions of identity, intimacy and belonging. A Number is a beguiling thriller that delves into the ethical issue of human cloning while exploring second chances.

A Number explores human cloning, personal identity and the age-old debate of nature versus nurture. What happens when a father is confronted by the results of an outrageous genetic experiment? Years ago, a father made a decision that would irrevocably alter the course of his life, and the life of his three adult sons; the second and third a clone of the first. Now, he faces the consequences of that decision when his second son Bernard discovers that he's not the only Bernard. As anger and abandonment issues emerge, a series of questions ensue that will take him and his father on a compelling psychological journey, revealing a disturbing incident involving a number of "others." How might a man feel to discover that he is only one in a number of identical copies. And which one of him is the original? From the subtle and innovative mind of Caryl Churchill comes a modern classic on the implications of genetic manipulation. A Number is a showcase for its two actors, with one playing three men – two clones plus the original.

A Number premiered in 2002 at Royal Court Theatre in London, winning the Evening Standard Award for Best Play. It ran Off-Broadway two years later at New York Theatre Workshop and the production won Caryl Churchill her fourth OBIE Award. The play was revived in 2020 at The Bridge Theatre in London and has been performed in regional repertory, college, and community theatre productions.

Cast: 2 men

What people say:

"A Number, you see, is a gripping dramatic consideration of what happens to autonomous identity in a world where people can be cloned. The invaluable Ms. Churchill has not begun to stop surprising and unbalancing theatergoers." — The New York Times

"A Number confirms Churchill's status as the first dramatist of the 21st century... The questions this brilliant, harrowing play asks are almost unanswerable, which is why they must be asked." — The Sunday Times

"Rarely in my theatre-going experience has a new play conveyed such a disturbing or enthralling impression of domestic weirdness that some families may endure in a not entirely hypothetical future... It's an astonishing event." — The Evening Standard

"Caryl Churchill's magnificent new play only lasts an hour but contains more drama, and more ideas, than most writers manage in a dozen full-length works. Part psychological thriller, part topical scientific speculation, and part analysis of the relationship between fathers and their sons, it combines elegant structural simplicity with an astonishing intellectual and emotional depth...What a tremendous play this is, moving thought-provoking and dramatically thrilling." — The Daily Telegraph

"Caryl Churchill's power to grip an audience is an extraordinary thing. Her plays perform a pincer-movement on your attention. Their ear for a subject of real concern ... has always been acute, and often prescient." — The Observer

About the Playwright:

Caryl Churchill is widely recognized as one of the UK's leading playwrights. She was born in London and after the Second World War her family emigrated to Montreal in Canada. She returned to England to attend Oxford University and graduated with a degree in English Literature. One of the most respected dramatists in the English-speaking world, she is an internationally known playwright whose work has been given major international theatrical awards throughout the world.

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