People’s Light presents Caryl Churchill’s A Number, starring Tony Award nominee John Dossett (Broadway’s Gypsy opposite Bernadette Peters) and Nathan Darrow (House of Cards, Gotham). In the near future, three identical sons confront their father over past misdeeds, with shocking consequences. From one of the world’s most inimitable playwrights comes a “stunning” (The New York Times) and suspenseful exploration of identity, parenthood, and the ethics of human cloning. Tickets range from $21.50-$53. To purchase, call 610.644.3500 or visit www.peopleslight.org. People’s Light is located at 39 Conestoga Road, Malvern, PA 19355.
Arguably one of the most influential dramatists of the 20th century, Caryl Churchill is a trailblazer of dramatic structure, known for experimental work that tackles current sociopolitical issues. A Number first debuted at the Royal Court Theatre in London in 2002, one year after scientists cloned the world’s first pet – a cat named CC. The play suggests a future version of our society in which human cloning is possible, though perhaps not entirely legal. Salter, a man in his early sixties, and his son Bernard discover that Bernard is among an unknown number of genetically identical men. As the truth behind their creation becomes clear, the dispute between nature and nurture careens to the forefront of this taut, psychological drama.
Director Eliza Baldi notes the multiple levels operating in Churchill’s A Number. “On the one hand, it’s a fast-paced, sci-fi thriller, much like an episode of Black Mirror or The Twilight Zone,” she explains. “But it’s also a very elemental story about fathers and sons, loyalty and betrayal, the human need for redemption and enduring love. Ultimately, it’s a meditation on personhood, and fate. The play is asking a difficult question: is a person more-or-less predetermined by their genetic make-up? Or are we formed by our circumstance?”
A Number marks the first Caryl Churchill production at People’s Light, though the playwright is a longtime family friend, and personal favorite, of Producing Director Zak Berkman. “I’m thrilled to introduce her writing to People’s Light audiences,” Berkman says. “For six decades, Caryl has explored and exposed the extremities of what human beings are capable of: for love, for science, for power. At this moment, when many of us wonder if human beings possess the ability to pull ourselves from the brink of moral and physical collapse, there is no better playwright to turn to than Churchill.
“Her ability to make the intimate mythic and the mythic intimate, the vastness of her imagination and compassion, all feels like an antidote to the ills of the world, even when it’s these exact ills she is warning us about.”
A Number’s two-actor cast features acclaimed Broadway veteran and Tony Award nominee John Dossett as Salter. His sons – the first Bernard, the second Bernard, and a man named Michael Black – are played by Nathan Darrow, best known for his roles as Edward Meechum in Netflix’s House of Cards and Victor Fries/Mr. Freeze on Fox’s Gotham.
Eliza Baldi directs the production. Andrew Moerdyk makes his People’s Light debut as Set Designer. People’s Light company member Marla J. Jurglanis (For Peter Pan on Her 70th Birthday, Skeleton Crew, Morning’s at Seven) designs costumes. Guest artist Amith Chandrashaker, recently nominated for two Drama Desk Award nominations and a Lucille Lortel Award, serves as lighting designer. Robert Kaplowitz (Nina Simone: Four Women) returns as Sound Designer. Resident Dramaturg Gina Pisasale dramaturgs the production assisted by Adrena Williams. Erin Edelstein makes her People’s Light debut as Stage Manager.
Caryl Churchill Playwright
Caryl Churchill’s plays include Owners, Light Shining in Buckinghamshire, Traps, Cloud Nine, Top Girls, Fen, Serious Money, Ice Cream, Mad Forest, The Skriker, Blue Heart, This is a Chair, Far Away, A Number, A Dream Play, Drunk Enough To Say I Love You?, and Seven Jewish Children: A Play for Gaza. Music theatre includes Lives of the Great Poisoners and Hotel, both with Orlando Gough. Caryl has also written for radio and television.
Eliza Baldi Director
People’s Light: Directed a workshop of Kate Fodor’s play Civil War in the New Play Frontiers commission program. Theatre Includes: As a director, Gloucester Stage, Hudson Guild Theater, Fisher Center at Bard College, So & So Arts (London), New Dramatists, and with her company Uncommon Pocketwatch. She recently created Evolution #9 as a 2017-18 resident artist at the St. Ann’s Warehouse puppet lab. As an actor, she has performed at H.E.R.E Arts Center, P.S. 122, Crossing the Line Festival, INTAR, Center Stage, LAByrinth, NYC Fringe & Fringe Encores, the Wild Project, Immediate Medium, the Brooklyn Museum, Williamstown Theater Festival, O’Neill Playwrights Conference, among others. She has taught at Ramapo College, Bard College, N.Y.U., and was on the faculty of Fordham University Lincoln Center for 7 years. Training: M.F.A. (NYU Graduate Acting). She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two daughters.
Nathan Darrow Bernard/Bernard/Michael
People’s Light debut. Theatre Includes: Summer and Smoke (Classic Stage Company/Transport Group Theatre Company), Hamlet (Heart of America Shakespeare Festival), Five Mile Lake (McCarter Theatre Center), Richard III (Old Vic/Brooklyn Academy of Music), Ajax (American Repertory Theater), Death of a Salesman (Weston Playhouse). Film/Television Includes: House of Cards, Billions, Gotham, The Wizard of Lies, Bull, Blue Bloods, Blindspot, The Blacklist, Quantico. Training: University of Evansville, NYU. Member of The Actors Center.
John Dossett Salter
People’s Light debut. Theatre Includes: Broadway: 17 productions, including Fifth of July, Democracy, Prelude to a Kiss, Ragtime, Dinner At Eight, The Constant Wife, Gypsy (Tony and Drama Desk nominations), Newsies and, most recently, War Paint. Off-Broadway: Dear Evan Hansen (Second Stage Theater), Giant (Public Theater) (Drama Desk nomination), Grand Hotel (Encores!), Saved (Playwrights Horizons), The Clean House and Hello Again (Lincoln Theater Center), Dinner With Friends, Czolgosz (Ridge Theater, PS 122), A Little Night Music (Kennedy Center Sondheim Celebration); Reckless, Prelude to a Kiss, The Diviners, Childe Byron, Dalton’s Back, Sunshine, El Salvador, Moonshot and Cosmos, others at Circle Rep. Regional: How I Learned To Drive (Philadelphia Theatre Company), Heart of Rock and Roll (Old Globe Theatre), Sylvia (Cape Playhouse). Film/Television Includes: Madame Secretary, Blue Bloods, Elementary, all Law & Order series, Sex and the City, Little Manhattan, That Night, Longtime Companion, HBO’s John Adams.
A Number previews Wednesday, May 15; Thursday, May 16; and Friday, May 17 at 7:30pm. The play opens on Saturday, May 18 at 8pm and runs through Sunday, June 9. Standard single tickets start at $43. $30 preview tickets are available May 15-18. For tickets, call the Box Office at 610.644.3500.
Discounts are available for groups of 10 or more. For more information or to purchase group tickets, call Group Sales Associate Kelly Benedict at 610.647.1900 x111 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Subscription packages are now available for the 2019/2020 Season at People’s Light. Productions include Dot (September 18 – October 20); Little Red Robin Hood (November 13 – January 5); The Children (January 15 – February 9); Shakespeare in Love (February 26 – March 29); Hold These Truths (March 18 – April 19); Bayard Rustin: Inside Ashland (May 13 – June 7); Mary Jane (June 24 – July 19); and an eighth production in August 2020 still to be announced. Visit www.peopleslight.org or call 610.644.3500 for more information.
Actors, prices, productions, performance dates and times are subject to change. Additional service charges will apply. Contact the Box Office for more details.
ACCESSIBILITY & ENGAGEMENT
Arrive early for Drinks & Dramaturgy. Explore the dramaturgy display in our lobby, which provides context to enhance your experience of the production. Enjoy a glass of wine or beer from concessions, which you can take into the performance.
Join John Dossett, Nathan Darrow, and our Resident Dramaturg Gina Pisasale for Scoop on Wednesdays, a lively pre-performance discussion with light snacks. Learn more about the context of the play and get behind-the-scenes info. Scoop starts at 6pm in the lobby before 7:30pm performances on May 22, May 29, and June 5. Now only $5 and available online.
This production includes expanded AfterWORDS, informal post-show Q&As. Generally offered only after Thursday evening performances, A Number AfterWORDS will follow the Tuesday and Thursday evening performances and Saturday matinees on Tuesday, May 21; Thursday, May 23; Saturday, May 25; Thursday, May 30; Saturday, June 1; Tuesday, June 4; and Thursday, June 6.
People’s Light offers a Relaxed Performance of A Number on Friday, June 7 at 7:30pm. This Relaxed Performance, generously sponsored by Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health, creates a welcoming environment designed to include everyone and let you be who you are. Relaxed Performances invite, but are not limited to, individuals with Autism, ADD, ADHD, dementia, and sensory sensitivities, so that they can take part in the joy of theatre. Tickets to our Relaxed Performance are half-priced at $26.50. For more information, contact the Box Office at 610.644.3500.
Open Caption performances of A Number are June 4 at 7:30pm, June 5 at 2pm and 7:30pm, June 6 at 7:30pm, June 7 at 7:30pm, June 8 at 8pm, and June 9 at 2pm and 7pm. During these performances, the actors’ lines appear on a small LED screen near the stage as they speak.
Throughout the season, we offer half-priced Access Nights as part of our accessibility initiatives. A Number Access Night is June 4 at 7:30pm. No promo code required.
Service animals are welcome at all performances at People’s Light. The theatre offers a designated relief area and water bowl for their comfort.
BISTRO & FARMHOUSE
Enjoy prix fixe Dinner & A Show packages at the Farmhouse Bistro prior to select Wednesday through Sunday performances. Pay $85 for a Wednesday, Thursday, or Sunday evening package, or $93 for a Friday or Saturday evening package. That’s a savings of up to 15% off the single ticket price. We also offer Brunch Packages that include brunch at The Bistro paired with tickets to Sunday matinee performances. Call the Box Office at 610.644.3500.
Located next to The Bistro is a full-service catering venue, The Farmhouse at People’s Light, perfect for weddings, corporate events, and special celebrations. Contact the Farmhouse Sales Team at 610.647.1631 x156 or email@example.com.
ABOUT PEOPLE’S LIGHT
Now in its 44th season, People’s Light, a professional, not-for-profit theatre in Chester County, Pennsylvania, makes plays drawn from many sources to entertain, inspire, and engage our community. We extend our mission of making and experiencing theatre through arts education programs that excite curiosity about, and deepen understanding of, the world around us. These plays and programs bring people together and provide opportunities for reflection, discovery, and celebration. Founded in 1974, we produce eight to nine plays each season, in two black box theatres with 340 and 160 seats respectively, mixing world premieres, contemporary plays, and fresh approaches to classic texts. Through two new play initiatives, New Play Frontiers and the Harmony Lab, People’s Light currently has seven active play commissions. Of our 444 productions, over a third (167) have been world or regional premieres.