Synopsis

Written by Caryl Churchill
Directed by Byam Stevens

“If that’s me over there, who am I?” A man learns that he has been cloned. Shocked, he seeks an explanation from his widowed father – but so do two other “sons.” Who is the original? Who are the clones? Why did the father have the clones made? A fast-paced psychological thriller, a fascinating puzzle and a dark tale of a father’s love for his son from one of the great playwrights of our time.

“The first true play of the 21st century.”
     – London Evening Standard

Performances are July 30 – August 10.
Wednesday-Saturday at 8 pm. Thursday and Sunday at 2 pm.

Post-performance TalkBacks follow our Thursday 2pm and Saturday 8pm shows.
Post-performance Panel Forum follows our Sunday, August 3 2pm show.

 A Number is sponsored by Judy and Marty Bloomfield
Byam Stevens (Director) is sponsored by Alba and Bob Tutnauer
Production Design is sponsored by Kathleen Lovell
Costume Design is sponsored by Gail and Michael Perlman
Media sponsored by Esselon Cafe & Coffee Roasting Co. 

esselon logo color

 

 

 

 

Cast

Salter
Larry John Meyers*

Salter’s Sons
Jay Stratton*

*Denotes member of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers
in the United States

Artists

Playwright: Caryl Churchill
Directed by: Byam Stevens
Set Design: David Towlun
Lighting Design: Lara Dubin
Costume Design: Elizabeth Pangburn
Sound Design: James McNamara
Stage Manager: Erin Patrick*

Articles

Chester Theatre looks for redemption
from Berkshire Eagle/Berkshires Week, July 23 2014, by Christopher Huffaker

A quarter century later, Chester Theatre Company still tackling big ideas with small play casts
from the Daily Hampshire Gazette, July 31 2014, by Ilana Gensler

Reviews

“But watching the crisp, finely tuned, skillfully crafted and acted production of Churchill’s play at Chester Theatre Company, it is clear that something else is operating not far below the surface of this compelling 60-minute piece that unfolds in five vignettes between a man named Salter (Larry John Meyers) and his sons, Bernard 1 and 2 and Michael Black (all played by Jay Stratton)…[Director Byam] Stevens and two extraordinarily resourceful actors courageously plunge into a great unknown in an inviting exercise that is more than worth joining.”
–Jeffrey Borak, Berkshire Eagle

It’s amazing to realize that Churchill packs so much into a play that lasts a little over an hour but sends the audience out reeling with so much to think about. This is helped by Stevens’ winning production which adds more of a dose of danger than in a previous production I have seen. There are also the two exquisite performances by Meyers and Stratton who play very well off of each other. Meyers creates a Salter who is growing dramatically more tired as he ages, but is nonetheless believable as a type of father character, while Stratton demonstrates a range that allows him to differentiate between all three of his characters…For a fascinating thought-provoking evening of theatre, filled with two rewarding performances, “A Number” certainly fills the bill.
–Andrew Beck, Springfield Examiner

“[A NUMBER] is a very honest play about lying, liars and lies themselves. The author wants us to grasp the ramifications of the small lies we tell to protect small truths that could blow the lid off of sanity and leave behind only chaos…Jay Stratton’s three characterizations are exquisite. Where one threatens, one acts and where one philosophizes another maneuvers…Frankly I don’t see how [the role of Salter] could be played in any other way than as [Larry John] Meyers does it and does it so very well.”
–Peter Bergman, Berkshire Bright Focus

“The acting by Meyers and Stratton is compelling. Meyers’ tone and emotional reactions are at time mercurial or restrained creating a complexity that keeps the audience involved. Stratton’s body and face literally change as he portrays the three sons. Though they are different characters he subtly utilizes comparable gestures or intonations. Both men deliver dynamic acting lessons.

“Byam Stevens, director and Chester’s artistic director, avoids artificial overly emotional confrontations by having has his actors use pauses and movement to convey confusion or menace. He has staged the play so that it is tight with simplicity and control, a challenging and beautifully acted theatre experience.”
–Gloria Miller, CurtainUp

“Caryl Churchill’s intriguingly-styled script allows for a great deal of free rein of which director Byam Stevens thoughtfully takes full advantage. In a discussion with opening day audience, he would not categorize the play for all of the many questions which it poses. The script has no stage directions and little punctuation. Learning this, its audience realizes what imaginative command both Stevens and his truly brilliant actors have staged to create amazing characterizations.

“The versatile Jay Stratton returns to  Chester as Bernards 1 and 2, and Michael Black, three of the identical sons who are not at all similar in behavior nor demeanor; this is most impressive acting. As Salter, Larry John Meyers is a brilliant choice in his first appearance at Chester… Be sure to see this play with a full carload of folks for a lengthy discussion on the ride home of the questions and their possible answers introduced by “A Number.”
–Betti Halen, In the Spotlight