Corazón de Manzana

Mixing realism, fantasy and stylized choreography, Corazón de Manzana intertwines the lives of three mother/daughter pairs living in Canada, the United States and Mexico to the tragic femicide occurring in Juárez, Mexico. A desperate cry for help reaches across borders to begin an investigation into a mother’s plea to find her missing daughter. As the discovery into the child’s disappearance unfolds, the connections between suffering and privilege in the three countries come into dramatic and heart-wrenching clarity.


  • Mortar Theatre Company with The Department of Cultural Affairs Store Front Theatre, August 2011


“Formby could have titled this “Corazon de Cebolla” because of all the layers.  It’s one of those drama-comedy-fantasy-political tragedies about relationships-body image-cultural differences-genocide.  I got a big bite of this apple last night and I already made plans to see it again.  At the heart of it is the Juarez catastrophe.”

—Katy Walsh, The Fourth Walsh

“Dana Lynn Formby's ambitious new play follows the model of films such as Babel in which people in different countries are united by a single, tragic event. Here, three pairs of mothers and daughters in the United States, Mexico, and Canada connect because of the abduction of Mazi (Cruz Gonzalez-Cadel in a strong performance), who lives with her factory-worker mother in femicide-ridden Juarez. Formby is a smart, sensitive writer, and elements of Jason Boat's staging pack a wallop.”

—Kerry Reid, The Reader

“Formby adopts the style of an allegorical folk tale, devising a mysterious, Pied Piper–like figure (Joshua Volkers) who lures a little girl (Cruz Gonzalez-Cadel) from her bedroom, sending her mother into anguish (harrowingly conveyed by Erica Cruz Hernandez). Relying on magical realism and choreographed movement, the scenes between Volkers and Gonzalez-Cadel are at once disturbing and eerily beautiful.”

—Zac Thompson, Time Out Chicago

“this is one bold and important play (just wait for the gut-punching final scenes), and it’s exactly the type of work we need more of in this city. If I seem overly critical in this review, it’s just because I believe this play has the potential to make waves. I encourage you to see it and get the conversation started about this tragic and timely topic.”

—Bob Bullen, Chicago Theatre Addict

“A dark, serious and vast play that incorporates many facets of human emotion. The play follows three families in Canada, America and Mexico as they struggle with a post-NAFTA North America. ...This play is a must see, because it addresses an extremely important problem that is often overlooked when we discuss the benefits of globalization. If truly art can inform as well as entertain, this play accomplishes that.”

—Katie Richardson, Gapers Block   

Workshops and Readings:                

  • Victory Gardens, October, 2010

  • Chicago Dramatists, March, 2010

  • WordBRIDGE, June, 2009 (Recipient of the Kennedy Center Fellowship)