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Boxed In: Cheek By Jowl’s “The Winter’s Tale”

Working from home had drained Gwen more than she expected. She had always been comfortable on her own, without having a supervisor or manager peering over her shoulder as she worked. Had someone asked her, a month ago, if she’d prefer to work in the comfort of her home, she’d have leapt at the opportunity.

But “comfort” wasn’t what the home felt like to Gwen. Despite making sure she took walks outside regularly (at Eleanor’s urging), their small apartment was feeling more claustrophobic by the hour––to say nothing of Gwen’s preferred kind of social interaction: the collective anonymity provided by the dark blanket of a theatre audience. Now, to Gwen’s distress, both the audiences and the stages of Chicago were shrouded in darkness, and would be for some time.

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Airplane Mode: Macha Theatre Works’ “The Flight Before Xmas”

“But how did the cat get into her bag?” asked Eleanor,

“I don’t know,” said Dania, standing to put her coat back on. “Does it matter?”

“Not really,” Eleanor shrugged. The logic behind the reappearance of the cat didn’t particularly matter –– Maggie Lee’s play wore its heart proudly on its sleeve, to the point that the moral destinations were more satisfying than the narrative journeys that preceded them. “How the cat got there isn’t as important as the fact that it was found,” Eleanor summed up.

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Playing Along: Nothing Without A Company’s “Pakalolo Sweet”

“It had to get dramatic, didn’t it?”

“Was it not already?” asked Eleanor, as they walked carefully across the astroturf lining the ground in the Berger Park Coach House. The space, a tight blackbox in the center of a park on the edge of Lake Michigan, felt tightly cramped when oriented in a traditional proscenium setting.

“Well, yeah, it was, but I had hope it would stay upbeat about it,” Dania mused. “It wasn’t like Batu, last year. That was dramatic the whole way through. This one felt like it suddenly decided to be a drama halfwa––”

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