To the west: trees. To the east: a mall. North: fast food. South: darkness. And at the centre is The Building, an office building wherein several factions vie for dominance. Inside, the walls are infiltrated with vines, a mischief of mice learn to speak English, and something eerie happens once a month on the fifth floor. In Secret Life, Theo Ellsworth uses a deep-layered style to interpret Nebula award-winning author Jeff VanderMeer’s short story. What emerges is a mind-bending narrative that defamiliarizes the mundanity of office work and makes the arcane rituals of The Building home.
When his manager borrows his pen for a presentation, a man is driven to unspeakable acts as he questions the role the pen has played in his workplace success. The despised denizens of the second floor develop their own tongue, incomprehensible to everyone else in The Building. A woman plants a seed of insurgency that quickly permeates every corner of the building with its sweet, nostalgic perfume.