BY: Charles DiZenzo
DIRECTED BY: Wm. Bullion

CAST: Karolyn Shapiro, Chris Popio, Patrick Brennan, Abby Sher

LIGHTING DESIGN: Richard Norwood

BIG MOTHER is a high-energy, farcical strip down of our American values. The ideal suburban existence is blown apart at the seams by the most dysfunctional of families. This thermo-nuclear family consists of Buster (brother), Sweetums (Baby Sister), Daddy, and Big Mother, who bull-whips the rest to a meltdown.

Charles DiZenzo takes a stab in his one-act Big Mother, which features a title character who forces her son to lick out cereal bowls thrown on the floor, chases her husband around the room with a whip when not trying to electrocute him with a toaster, and generally ignores the desperate pleas of her infant daughter, who’s so tyrannized by toilet training that she recites an epic poem, “The Heinous Anus.”

Justin Hayford, Chicago Reader

DiZenzo lays out this family’s diseased vital organs–the blackened hearts, the overworked spleens, the nonfunctioning brains–but has neglected to dissect the connective tissues that might hold the family together, no matter how tenuously.

Justin Hayford, Chicago Reader




Charles Dizenzo is an American playwright and screenwriter. He has written such plays as Big Mother, The Drapes Come, An Evening for Merlin Finch, A Great Career, The Last Straw, Sociability, and Metamorphosis. He is also noted for his screenwriting for Guiding Light, As the World Turns, and Santa Barbara.


Wm. Bullion is a Chicago-based stage director, actor, wordsmith and would-be bon vivant. His most recent full project was directing David Cerda’s masterpiece Scream, Queen Scream! with Hell in a Handbag Productions. Before joining The Factory Theater ensemble in 2016, he was a member of Akvavit Theatre, directing their SMASH HIT U.S. premiere of Andri Snær Magnason’s Blue Planet, the Midwest/Chicago premiere of Jon Fosse’s A Summer’s Day and created the original burlesque satire Pippi’s Lost Stockings: A Skirt Raiser as well as several staged readings and coordinating their biennial Nordic Spirit festival of new plays. Before that, Billy founded and directed his own company, Sliced Bread Productions. He is also a Director of Programs with DirectorsLabChicago, an artist-service organization dedicated to emerging directors and is a graduate of UCLA’s school of Theater, Film and Television. He also did a year of graduate school in Directing at the Goodman School of Drama.


Opened: March 1997