Distance | The Factory Theater | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader
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click to enlarge Caleb Fullen and Janice O’Neill in Distance

Caleb Fullen and Janice O’Neill in Distance

Tom McGrath

When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through Oct. 1 2016
Price: $30
There's not much you could call action in the new play by Jerre Dye. And not much you won't have seen before, either. Under siege from Alzheimer's disease, an aging Memphis lady named Irene (Janice O'Neill) recedes into her personal distance, her past overwhelming her present. A scraggly little community forms around her, populated by Luvie (Anita Deely), her miserable 45-year-old daughter; Dolly (Loretta Rezos), her obsequious care provider; Dolly's aimless grown son, Dylan (the remarkable Caleb Fullen); and Leonard (Stephen Rader, also remarkable), a gay hair stylist stuck in sassy mode. We watch a birthday party, some wandering off, some bonding, a good bit of anomie—Dye leans a little too hard on his I-feel-invisible theme. So how come I had a great time watching this Strawdog Theatre premiere? Two reasons: (1) Dye's witty, empathic scenes. (2) The actors, who under Erica Weiss's direction balance considerable idiosyncrasy with a strong ensemble intimacy. Distance's mortal charm puts it just a stone's throw from Marvin's Room. —Tony Adler



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