A Number - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A Number - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia A Number From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia A Number is a 2002 play by English playwright Caryl Churchill which addresses the subject of human cloning and identity, especially nature versus nurture. The story, set in the near future, is structured around the conflict between a father (Salter) and his sons (Bernard 1, Bernard 2, and Michael Black) – two of whom are clones of the first – when they are 35 and 40
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  A Number  Written by Caryl Churchill Characters Salter Bernard 1Bernard 2Michael Black  Date premiered 23 September 2002 Original language English Subject Human cloning and identity Number  From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Number  is a 2002 play by English playwright Caryl Churchill whichaddresses the subject of human cloning and identity, especially nature versusnurture. The story, set in the near future, is structured around the conflictbetween a father (Salter) and his sons (Bernard 1, Bernard 2, and MichaelBlack) – two of whom are clones of the first – when they are 35 and 40years old. Contents 1 Contextual Information2 Plot synopsis3 Plot Analysis4 Character Guide5 Character Analysis6 Genre7 Style8 Language9 Staging10 Productions10.1 Original production10.2 Revivals10.3 US premiere10.4 LA/OC, California premiere11 Adaptations12 References13 External links Contextual Information Caryl Churchill’s A Number  is an srcinal work published in 2002 in London in association with the Royal Court Theatre. [1]   Aumber  was written when cloning was often in the news. Dolly the sheep, creation of human embryos at Advanced CellTechnology in the US, and the cloning of a kitten [2] gave rise to controversy concerning possible human cloning. Plot synopsis The play begins with a father and his son Bernard (B2) discussing the fact that the son has found out that he has been cloned.The father claims not to have known this and claims that a hospital must have stolen his cells at some point and made illegalcopies of him. He talks about suing the hospital for money. The son then mentions that there were others and the father admitsthat the son is a clone. He says that the srcinal son and his mother died in a car crash and that he wanted his son back so hehad him cloned. Then the srcinal son confronts Salter and has a discussion about the clones, Salter again denies knowledgeabout the others. It turns out Salter lied about the mother dying in a car crash; she killed herself by throwing herself under atrain; and that the srcinal son did not die, but was instead 'sent away' by Salter, unable or unwilling to care for him due to hisgrief. The first clone then finds out the srcinal is still alive. Bernard (B1) meets with Bernard (B2) and murders him, and thenproceeds to commit suicide. Salter then meets with Michael Black, another clone. Michael Black lives a very normal life, has awife and three children, and is happy. Salter ends up miserable and seemingly alone even though he knows that there are 19more clones. Plot Analysis A Number  is arranged in a linear order “to describe the events in the order that they happened.” [3] It jumps back to the pastbut only in conversation, we are not taken back, just told about it. The play has linear dramatic action and follows certain steps:(1) a state of equilibrium, (2) an inciting incident, (3) a point of attack of the major dramatic question, (4) rising action, (5)climax, (6) resolution, and (7) a new state of equilibrium [4] . Plays following this pattern have been referred to as well-made A Number - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 1 di 4 17.03.2011 20:52  plays, attempting to show a realistic world behaving in a logical fashion. [5 The seven elements of the story are: State of Equilibrium : Salter lives with his son Bernard (B2) and leads a normal life Inciting Incident : When Bernard (B2) realises that there are clones Point of attack of the MDQ (Major Dramatic Question) : Is Bernard (B2) the srcinal son? Or is he a clone? Rising Action : Salter meets with his srcinal son and discusses the past Climax : Bernard (B1) and Bernard (B2) meet each other  Resolution : Bernard (B1) kills Bernard (B2) and then kills himself  New State of Equilibrium : Salter is left with another clone, Michael Black, and it is just the two of them, but with othersout there somewhere. Character Guide Salter : a man in his early sixties, he was married and had one son. His wife killed herself by throwing herself under atube train. A few years later he had his son Bernard cloned. Bernard (B2) : His son, thirty-five, first clone of his first son, made to replace srcinal son. Bernard (B1) : His son, forty. First son of Salter, Mother committed suicide when he was two years old. Michael Black  : His son, thirty-five. Another clone of Salter’s first son. He is married with three children, a boy, a girl,and a small child ages twelve, eight, and eighteen months, and is a mathematics teacher. Character Analysis Each character has a different core emotion. Salter goes through a range of emotions from love, to anger, to despair, each as aresult of his actions and decisions. Salter is tormented by his choices and hides “behind the smoke screen of lies and cigarettes”to try and live this new life with his new child, Bernard (B2). [6] . Salter’s action seem unreasonable, in the dialogue they say“but another child might have been better” [7] asking the question of why did Salter not just have another child? Why did hemake a clone of his first child? Salter’s response was that he thought his first child was so perfect that he wanted another chance, a second try. He loves this clone, but he quickly becomes angry and snarls at his srcinal son saying he should havebeen squashed as a child [8] . He then turns to despair once he finds out his srcinal son and the clone that he loved are dead,and then looking for answers he finds another clone. He asks this clone a series of questions and is disappointed that this cloneseems to have no unique features, nothing to keep the memory of his dead sons special. Bernard (B1) is a “bitter, angry40-year old” who finds his father after being given up. Bernard was abused and neglected as a child by Salter and naturally isangry, but still has a bond with Salter because he is his father. The clones are a threat to this bond; Salter showed love to thisclone, love he never showed Bernard. In bitter anger he murders the clone that lived with Salter, and then having nothing elseto live for, Salter would hate him, he kills himself. Bernard (B2) is living a life full of lies. From conception he has been toldlies, from how is mother died to being a clone. The lies are slowly uncovered one by one, each time driving him further andfurther away from Salter, he is angry and confused and lost. His world has been shattered and he is scared; scared of not havinga sense of self anymore, scared of his lack of uniqueness, and scared of Bernard (B1). Michael Black is another clone of Bernard but he is very pleasant. He is a “mild-mannered teacher, a happy family man, who takes the news of his unusualgenesis with extraordinary equilibrium, and whose quiet contentment is utterly baffling to the tormented Salter.” [9] . He seemsnormal, but also seems very shallow and like everyone around him. He lacks a depth that Salter is searching for, but is contentwithout it. Genre The genre of  A Number  would be considered a tragedy. The overall mood of tragedies is solemn, and the mood of A Number iscertainly that. With the death of half of the characters in the play the mood is very dark. There is an assumed moral code,which is not to tamper with the natural order of things. There is a tragic hero; a tragic hero is “the agent of action of a classictragedy, characterized by the following: commits an act of shame, is responsible for other people, and goes from good fortuneto bad” [10] . Salter is the tragic hero as a father he is responsible for his children and his act of shame is cloning his child, whichleads to the production of multiple people that he was not aware of. There is a nemesis, or someone who is seeking revenge.That character is very clearly Bernard (B1) who seeks retribution for the way he was treated as a child and the destruction of his unique identity. There is a scene of suffering; Salter breaks down multiple times throughout the play, the consequences of his decisions coming down on him. If you combine all of these elements it is a formula for a classic tragedy. Style Caryl Churchill’s main concerns when writing this play was the idea of self. She takes this idea of identity and challenges itwith this story. If you were to find out that you were simply a clone then you’re not a unique person, but one of many, just a A Number - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 2 di 4 17.03.2011 20:52  number. This story from a subjective position, though we are privy to most of what is going on, we are always with Salter. Sowhen Bernard (B1) was with Bernard (B2) we did not know what was happening. The world of the play is moderatelycomprehensible, we can understand everything that happens but some things elude us. Why are the clones so drasticallydifferent from one another? The events of the play happen in a fairly linear manner, there are some events in the past that arebrought up through conversation, but we are not taken back. The characters are “fully textured human beings, with ideas,feelings, personalities, passions, and foibles” that are very similar to our own, making the characters very life-like. [11] . Thesetting is set to imitate real life, simply two chairs and perhaps a table. The play is representational, the audience is never interacting with the play itself, only observing. Language The use of language in A Number is unique and slightly confusing and hard to follow. The dialogue is “hovering between theweirdly stylish and everyday inarticulate chat.” [12] This choice of language shows a casual conversation, but obviously in adifferent time, in this case the future. The dialogue is very repetitive, many words being repeated more than once in the samesentence, and sentences are often incomplete and thoughts never finished. One character is known as B2 to distinguish himfrom the other clones, one writer labels it as “clone-speak.” The same writer describes the language as “futuristic too-sentences incomplete, compressed, abbreviated in a kind of shortish hand.” [13] The rhythm that Churchill chose for A Number is a normal pace. The dialogue is just normal conversation between people so it is neither fast nor slow; the sentences may beshortened, but the rhythm is normal. Churchill uses a device known as dissonance throughout the play. Dissonance is a subtlesense of disharmony, tension, or imbalance within the words chosen in the play. [14] The sentences do not flow smoothly fromone to the next, they are choppy and harsh. “It wasn’t perfect. It was the best I could do, I wasn’t very I was I was always andit’s a blur to be honest but it was I promise you the best.” [15] Staging Churchill gives no stage directions and no indication of a setting for the play. In the 2002 production, the stage was describedby one critic as a “bare blank design” with “no relation to domestic realism.” [13] The costumes of the play were as simple asthe stage design. Salter always wore a rumpled looking suit, sometimes expensive looking, but sometimes not. The varousBernards usually wore jeans and a T-shirt, but sometimes a sweatshirt. [16] . Productions Original production The play debuted at the Royal Court Theatre in London on 23 September 2002. The production was directed by StephenDaldry and designed by Ian MacNeil and featured the following cast:Salter – Michael GambonBernard 1, Bernard 2, and Michael Black – Daniel CraigLighting was designed by Rick Fisher and Ian Dickinson was the sound designer. The play won the 2002 Evening StandardAward for Best Play. [17] Revivals The play was revived at the Sheffield Crucible studio in October 2006 starring real-life father and son Timothy West andSamuel West. US premiere In 2004, the play made its American debut at the New York Theatre Workshop in a production starring Sam Shepard (later played by Arliss Howard) and Dallas Roberts. LA/OC, California premiere In February/March 2009, the play made its Los Angeles/Orange County debut at the Rude Guerrilla Theater Company in aproduction directed by Scott Barber, starring Vince Campbell and Mark Coyan. Adaptations A Number - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 3 di 4 17.03.2011 20:52  A Number  was adapted by Caryl Churchill for television, in a co-production between the BBC and HBO Films. [18 StarringRhys Ifans and Tom Wilkinson, it was broadcast on BBC Two on 10 Sep 2008. [19] References ^ Churchill, Caryl. A Number. New York: TheatreCommunications Group, 2003.1. ^ What Is Warm and Fuzzy Forever? With Cloning, Kitty -New York Times. The New York Times - Breaking News,World News & Multimedia. 27 Feb. 2009< ^ Rush, David. Student guide to play analysis. Carbondale:Southern Illinois UP, 2005 p.373. ^ Rush, David. Student guide to play analysis. Carbondale:Southern Illinois UP, 2005 p. 38-394. ^ Rush, David. Student guide to play analysis. Carbondale:Southern Illinois UP, 2005 p. 2865. ^ Brown, Georgina. A Number. Mail on Sunday [London]29 Sept. 2002.6. ^ Churchill, Caryl. A Number. New York: TheatreCommunications Group, 2003. p. 217. ^ Churchill, Caryl. A Number. New York: TheatreCommunications Group, 2003. p. 518. ^ Jones, Oliver. A Number. What's On [London] 2 Oct.2002.9. ^ Rush, David. Student guide to play analysis. Carbondale:Southern Illinois UP, 2005. p. 28610. ^ Rush, David. Student guide to play analysis. Carbondale:Southern Illinois UP, 2005 p. 18711. ^ Myerson, Jonathan. A Number. Independent [London] 1Oct. 2002.12.^ a   b De Jongh, Nicholas. A Number. Evening Standard[London] 27 Sept. 2002.13. ^ Rush, David. Student guide to play analysis. Carbondale:Southern Illinois UP, 2005 p. 8614. ^ Churchill, Caryl. A Number. New York: TheatreCommunications Group, 2003. p. 2615. ^ Basset, Kate. A Number. Independent on Sunday[London] 29 Sept. 2002.16. ^ Evening Standard Awards ( Retrieved on 8 October 200917. ^ BBC (2008-06-19). Uma Thurman, Rhys Ifans and TomWilkinson star in two plays for BBC Two ( . Press release. Retrieved 2008-09-09.18. ^ A Number ( . BBC Two Listings . BBC. Retrieved 2008-09-09.19. External links Review of srcinal British productions ( York Theater Workshop website for American production ( review of Royal Court production (,,800089,00.html)Reviews of the 2006 Sheffield revival ( New York Times ( A Number  ( at the Internet Movie DatabaseRetrieved from Categories: Plays by Caryl Churchill | 2002 plays | Evening Standard Award for Best PlayThis page was last modified on 5 January 2011 at 15:42.Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. See Terms of Use for details.Wikipedia® is a registered trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., a non-profit organization. A Number - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 4 di 4 17.03.2011 20:52
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