“A Number” is the name of the current play at People’s Light in Malvern.

When one sees that the author is Caryl Churchill one expects strong dramatic language in the play as one presumes that she must be related to “The” Winston Churchill. If so we are not informed of any connection. She is a 90 year old English playwright with a long string of unusual plays that has been produced. Churchill has a reputation for breaking all of the “accepted” rules of playwriting in both content and presentation.

The action in the play is presented in scenes 5 blackouts occurring over a period of years. The play has 2 characters- Salter (John Dossett) - The Father of Bernard (Nathan Darow). Both well-established equity actors. Both keep the conversation lively conflicting and sometimes funny.

The story concerns the son’s consternation when he discovers he was a “cloned” baby created after his older brother and mother were killed in an accident. He not only resents that he never knew this. He is angry that his father did not raise him, but sent him off to boarding school. Even more upsetting is the fact that he was not the only clone but was one of probably a dozen more who are supposedly just like him. This is very unsettling. Playwright Churchill touches on all of the different aspects all of this information will make in his life.

This story is mesmerizing and kept the audience spellbound but is not a play to take Aunt Nellie to if you want to amuse her. One of the best quotes from the play is “It’s too tangled to untangle.” I personally like a comment heard as we left the theatre as one of the young volunteer ushers said to another “This play is creepy”.

The play runs through June 9, 2019 and tickets are available at 610-644-3500.

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