A Number

In this play by Caryl Churchill a hospital discovers the long-lost records of twenty male clones made thirty-five years earlier. This discovery leads to battles between the cloned men and between them and their genetic father.

During a routine visit to a hospital, a man is told that the hospital has discovered the existence of twenty cloned males. Is he the original or one of the clones? He talks to his father and gradually discovers that what he thought was true about his childhood was not really true after all; secrets had been kept from him all his life.

Three of the clones appear within the play. One is mild and unsure of himself. He is made uneasy by the knowledge that he may be a clone. The second is a violent psychopath and the third is a teacher, happy with life and comfortable with his existence as a clone. Identical genetic material does not mean identical natures or lives.

The father, although initially appearing well-meaning and sympathetic, develops throughout the play into a callous individual, caring only for himself and indifferent to the needs of others. An interesting and thought-provoking short play.

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The Blurb

A hospital discovers the secret records of 20 identical human clones, sparking a bloody battle between rival siblings. Caryl Churchill's Oedipal thriller explores both the dark side of genetic engineering and the primal conflicts of fathers and sons.

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