Inherit the Whole

Inherit the Whole is the story of a Vietnam vet who has given up on the world in order to create peace for himself in the house his parents left him. His family pays a visit, looking for a rumored trunk of gold their dad buried under the house nearly thirty years ago. To prove the gold doesn’t exist, he joins his family in ripping through the floorboards of his own house. As he digs deeper into the ground, he finds a glimmer of hope—causing him to give up on the peace he almost found.


  • Mortar Theatre Company, June, 2010


“Her play invites comparisons to early Sam Shepard...displaying a gift for poetic plotting”
—Kris Vire, TimeOut Chicago

“Emotions run high in this powerful drama of desperation and dreaming.”
—Tom Williams, Chicago Critic

"Formby, Boat and the multi-talented cast and crew illustrate the reality of the disorder of family life. The set designed by Eric Broadwater is a hot mess. Just when you think the house couldn't look any grittier, Act 2 gets down and dirtier! It's not nice and neat. Life doesn't clean-up because company is coming. Families deal with lots of ickiness...poverty, bullying, bad parents, unemployment, mental illness. Inherit the Whole engages with a compelling story about the best kind of family dirt...somebody else's."
—Katy Walsh, The Fourth Walsh

“... the characters were collectively brought to such a high arc, I wept at the scene before me. This is rare writing, displaying impressive skill. The second act is so surprising in its follow through, it is more than worth sitting in a very warm theatre. This is the retelling of American history at it’s best.”
—Robin Sneed, Chicago Theatre Blog

“A patriarch dies, the family gathers, secrets are divulged, rifts widen. “August: Osage County”? No, the latest  family dysfunction festa from Dana Lynn Formby.”
—Lisa Buscani, New City

“There are some intense fireworks on display here that run the gamut from Paul's poignant childhood memory of a Monarch butterfly to the fever-pitched emotion of hysterical screaming and profanity. Those who enjoy thought-provoking, albeit depressing drama will be in heaven here.”
—Joe Stead, My Theatre Club

“Formby displays a knack for character development, and a seemingly well-developed sensibility for telling stories of those who have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Each person has a motivation, a purpose and a moment to shine.”
— Bob Bullen, Chicago Theatre Addict

Workshops and Readings:               

  • Victory Gardens, November, 2008
  • Premier Stages, July, 2007    

Workshop Production:

  • Ohio University, June, 2008