The Fax of Life

In Caryl Churchill’s A Number, a young man discovers that he is one of a number of clones produced by his father. Despite this rather fascinating premise, the play, which debuted a few years ago in New York, is remembered chiefly for its lead performance by Sam Shepard, who hadn’t worked onstage as an actor in 30 years.

“Depending on who you talk to, Shepard was either great or horrible,” says Stray Cat Theatre’s Ron May with a laugh. May directed the Stray Cat production of A Number, which has, as May says, “an X-Files feeling to it.” But Churchill’s 70-minute drama is less about the science of cloning than it is about parental responsibility and father-son relationships.

“This play is so off-the-charts weird that I’ve been afraid to do it here in Phoenix,” May says. “But I love Churchill, and this is her most accessible piece. I think it’s time to do it.”

A Number isn’t just Stray Cat’s first show of the season, it’s the company’s first-ever Equity show. “It’s exciting,” May says. “We couldn’t afford to hire an Equity actor before this, but it looks like we’re finally able to do experimental theater that doesn’t lose money. It’s a great thing.”


Sept. 7-22, 2007
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Robrt L. Pela has been a weekly contributor to Phoenix New Times since 1991, primarily as a cultural critic. His radio essays air on National Public Radio affiliate KJZZ's Morning Edition.
Contact: Robrt L. Pela