Mystery of a Past He Never Knew

By Russ Bickerstaff, Shepherd Express

Caryl Churchill’s one-hour stage drama A Number is about more than just cloning. From a somewhat cold bunker of a home, James Farrell plays a multi-layered man named Salter. On the surface of things, he’s just trying to be a good father.

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In play on cloning, parenting, Splinter Group dials winning 'Number'

By Mike Fischer, Special to the Journal Sentinel

Along with Tom Stoppard, Caryl Churchill could stake a claim as Britain’s greatest living playwright, but her work — elliptically postmodern, provocatively political and very dark — is hardly ever performed here.

Closing out its second season, Splinter Group continues its pattern of staging such pieces with its production of Churchill’s “A Number,” a two-actor play that’s ostensibly about cloning but really about a theme that runs through much of Churchill’s work: lousy parenting and neglected kids. It opened over the weekend under Jake Brockmann’s direction.

The bad parent here is named Salter. As soon as we see James Farrell’s impersonation, we know there’s something off about this squirrely character, whose every move is as careful as his punctiliously correct slacks-and-shirt combo — studiously casual wear, for a brittle man who is too stiff and unsure to ever truly express what’s best and most genuine about how he feels.

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Splinter Group’s “A Number” offers a troubling and dramatic look into the future

By Dave Begel, OnMilwaukee.com

In just 60 minutes, the Splinter Group manages to weave a story of such perplexing complexity that frequently you will wonder what the heck is going on and what is this all about.  But at the end, you are just as likely to sit back, look inside yourself and say, “Yeah. That’s what it was about.”

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