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. Over the course of several conversations with several people who all look alike, we find out that he’s been a reprehensible person in the past. He wants what we all want. He wants a chance to be the best person he can be. It’s a compelling portrayal of an interesting character in a provocative script.
Joe Picchetti plays three different characters in the course of the drama. First, he is the son of Salter. He’s confronting his father as he has discovered that there is more than one of him. There are a number of identical clones of him walking around. The officials who told him this also told him that he’s not the original. Picchetti is fascinating as a man trying to define the mystery of a past he never knew. Then Picchetti plays a much darker clone who has a bone to pick with Salter. With only a hoodie to define him from the first character, he is someone far more sinister from Salter’s past. Salter seems convinced that he’s capable of murder. The mystery continues as Picchetti settles into the role of a schoolteacher who is the exact clone of the first two. He’s given to intellectual curiosity in a frustrating conversation for Salter that provides a suitably provocative ending for a drama that resonates far longer than its one hour onstage.
Through May 24 at the Marian Center for Nonprofits, 3211 S. Lake Drive. For tickets, visitsplintergroup.brownpapertickets.com.