Wednesday, September 24, 2008

“I’m Just Him, Over Again.”

What would you do if you discovered you were a copy of another person? And not only that, but that there are 19 other copies just like you out there.
In celebration of the Ken Olsen Science Center dedication week, Caryl Churchill’s A Number ran its preview performance at Gordon last night. The two-man show, starring theatre professor Norman Jones and actor Paul Turbiak, ’04, runs 50 minutes.
A Number confronts the human aspect of scientific advancement. (mouse over for spoiler)
This dialogue leads us beyond the questions involved with the science cloning and encourages us to question the fundamentals of human individuality. Where do people derive their identity from? Am I a “real person” solely because I have a unique set of DNA? Or is it that I have free will over my thoughts and actions?The stage is minimal: two couches facing each other, two hanging lamps, two actors. The focus is not on setting but squarely on the characters and conversations.
It would, no doubt, be a grand step for science and human achievement to be able to replicate the human DNA—to clone people. However, as A Number portrays, the “clones” are more than just science experiments. At the outset of the play the other clones are spoken of as abstract, as just “a number.” By the end, however, we see these clones have lives as complex and real as any original.
The play will run September 24-27 in the Margaret Jensen Theatre in Barrington Center for the Arts. For times and tickets visit http://www.gordon.edu. See the Gordon College homepage for other events during the dedication week.

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