The prospect of human cloning is still provocative for its social implications. What is gained from encountering the issue in the form of a play? How does the play work to engage us in thinking through the issue?
Churchill's A Number was definitely not one of my favorites this semester. I did not like the writing style (the lack of punctuation and capitalization at times, the way the lines lead into each other, no stage directions, no set description, no other information at all) and found it a little confusing. Even though the script says which clone the father is talking to, it gets confusing after a while. But it still manages to address the issue of cloning.
|Sam Shepard and Dallas Roberts in A Number at New York Theatre Workshop.*|
|Roberts and Shepard.*|
|The Clockwork Theatre presents A Number starring Sean Marrinan (Salter) and Jay Rohloff (everyone else).*|
|National Asian American Theatre Company's production of A Number with Salter played by James Saito and the others by Joel de la Fuente.*|
While there seem to be an abundance of what the play does not do, it is important to note what it does do. Churchill does not address or explore the traditional aspects of cloning, such moral and ethical implications of cloning. She explores how a person might feel upon discovering that there are approximately twenty more versions of you running around. The way the play is performed is also up to the director. There is no indication of how the lines should be read or how the characters feel. The actor and director are free to put emphasis on whatever they deem important to the play. Salter could be full of regret, scornful, full of denial, or he could be nonchalant about the whole thing. The meaning and focus is open for interpretation.