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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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Emotional Support Animals: Rarecho and Netflix’s “Aggretsuko”

Five days a week, from 8am until 5pm, Gwen could be found sitting calmly at the reception desk of a Chicago architecture firm. This was her job – her “survival job,” she told people back home. Freelance writing and literary management not serving to pay her rent, Gwen had joined the silent ranks of the artistically unfulfilled, eager for the day when she could stick up a middle finger to her job, quitting as she marched out the front door and into the awaiting limousine to success.

It was a dumb fantasy, and Gwen knew that. It’ll be a cab, not a limo, she thought to herself. But in her heart, she knew she wouldn’t be quitting the job soon – and when she did, wouldn’t want to burn bridges with the people who had been nice to her while there. As she set a phone back in its dock and began to type out client information into a spreadsheet, she considered her ideal departure from work: a new job arising in theatre, the discomforting assertiveness of handing in two weeks notice, the inevitable half-hearted departure conversations about staying in touch and we-hope-you’ll-visit-us-soon. This would happen. In the future. Not now.

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