REVIEWSREVIEWS BYTheatre ReviewsTom Williams

A Permanent Image

By Samuel D. Hunterlivewire chicago theatre

Directed by Joshua Aaron Weinstein

Produced by LiveWire Chicago Theatre

At The Storefront Theater, Chicago

Thought provoking family drama gives a new twist to what constitutes a “dysfunctional” family

In A Permanent Image, now in its Chicago premiere at the Storefront Theater, Carol (Janice O’Neill) has found a strange way to mourn her recently departed husband (Jack McCabe) – she painted her entire house, furniture and a all fixtures snow white. When her son Bo (Ed Dzialo) arrives from abroad for his father’s funeral, he quickly concluded that his ‘always-strange’ mother has now gone totally insane . Mother is indeed quirky. She drinks too much and has always bordered on dysfunctional. Bo escaped at age seventeen from the loony house in rural Idaho and now is a war photographer and world traveler.

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When  sister Ally (Mary Williamson) arrives Bo and her resume their sibling feuds  despite not seeing each other in many years. Both agree that mother is stranger than ever but they can’t understand why she is so peculiar now. Could it be a reaction to father’s sudden heartache death  or do the volumes of video tapes that father made contain clues?  As the drinks flow, eventually mother tells how dad died and she presents her unique reaction that she plans on performing  just after dad’s funeral scheduled on Christmas Day. Ally and Bo escalate their arguments into physicality.  I’ll say no more about the story so not to spoil it for you.

Playwright Samuel D. Hunter has penned a provocative drama in A Permanent Image that has a fresh take on how some cope upon realization of just how small their lives really are in the big picture. This well paced and nicely acted work will surly get you thinking and it will spur lively debate. I was particularly impressed with the performance of Janice O’Neill as the wacky mother.  This drama is engaging, often funny, and the end is shockingly powerful. This is not your average dysfunctional drama but it is worth a look.


Tom Williams

Talk Theater in Chicago podcast

Date Reviewed: April 6, 2012

For more info checkout the A Permanent Image page at

At the DCA Storefront Theatre, 66 E. Randolph, Chicago, IL, call312-533-4666 ,tickets $15, $12 for students, seniors & industry, Thursdays thru Saturdays at 7:30 pm, Sundays at 2 pm, running time is 2 hours, 10 minutes with intermission, through May 5, 2013

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