A fascinating meditation on human cloning, personal identity and the conflicting claims of nature and nurture.
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 pushes the boundaries of science and ethics with an astonishing twist on the dynamics of the father/son relationship. It was originally produced at the Royal Court Theatre, London, winning the Evening Standard Award for Best Play.
This edition was published alongside a revival by the Nuffield Theatre, Southampton, which subsequently transferred to the Young Vic, London, in 2015, and featured real-life father and son John and Lex Shrapnel.
‘A masterpiece… devastating’
— Time Out
‘A wonderfully unsettling triumph’
‘A bleak and beautiful play… one emerges as ever stunned by the sheer breadth of Churchill’s imagination’
— The Arts Desk
‘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’
— Sunday Times
‘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’
— Daily Telegraph
‘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’
— Evening Standard