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Free Association Theatre Ensemble Presents John Ford Noonan’s Offbeat Comedy “Talking Things Over with Chekhov”


Free Association Theatre Ensemble of Raleigh, NC will present TALKING THINGS OVER WITH CHEKHOV, an offbeat 1987 two-character comedy by actor, playwright, and TV writer John Ford Noonan, on Aug. 26-28 at The ArtsCenter in Carrboro, on Sept. 2-4 at Common Ground Theatre in Durham, and on Sept. 9-11 at the Page-Walker Arts & History Center in Cary.

“I first read this show as part of FATE’s reading committee and fell in love with the script,” recalls director Noelle Barnard. “I have not been involved with nor seen a production of TALKING THINGS OVER WITH CHEKHOV. As far as I know, the script has not been produced in this region.”

She adds, “My favorite element of this show is the relationship between the characters — it is complex and full of power shifts. Just when you think you know who has the upper hand, one reveals the ace up their sleeve.”

Barnard says, “TALKING THINGS OVER WITH CHEKHOV is the story of ex-lovers Marlene (Nicola Lefler) and Jeremy (Chris Brown), [who] find themselves on a charming journey, fumbling through optimistic expectations, alternating changes in fortunes, as they strive towards their anticipated return to the Manhattan theater scene with the help of Jeremy’s imaginary (or maybe not…) friend [Russian playwright] Anton Chekhov.”

In addition to director Noelle Barnard, who doubles as the show’s set designer, the Free Association Theatre Ensemble creative team for TALKING THINGS OVER WITH CHEKHOV includes producer, choreographer, and properties manager Julya M. Mirro; technical director Leslie Pless; lighting designer Michael Lefler; costume designers Julya Mirro and Noelle Barnard; sound designer Brian Clark; and stage manager Deirdre Lewis. The crew and ensemble includes Julie-Kate Cooper, Ryan Huemmer, Leslie Pless, Julya Mirro, and Mick Williams.

Noelle Barnard says, “TALKING THINGS OVER WITH CHEKHOV uses a single unit set which is essentially a park bench…. The show does not have any complicated or unusual lighting…. TALKING THINGS OVER WITH CHEKHOV is set [in the] present day, [so t]he costumes are [those] of every day New Yorkers.”

She adds, “One of the biggest challenges for this show is staging it in three different locations for three consecutive weeks. Our first weekend is in the West End theatre at The ArtsCenter in Carrboro, the second in Common Ground in Durham, and the third at the Page-Walker Hotel in Cary. Each space is set up differently, and presents different challenges and opportunities for staging the play.”

Free Association Theatre Ensemble presents TALKING THINGS OVER WITH CHEKHOV at 8 p.m. Aug. 26-28 in the West End Theater at The ArtsCenter, 300-G E. Main St., Carrboro, North Carolina 27510; 8 p.m. Sept. 2-4 at Common Ground Theatre, 4815B Hillsborough Rd., Durham, North Carolina 27705; and 8 p.m. Sept. 9-11 in the Page-Walker Arts & History Center, 119 Ambassador Loop, Cary, North Carolina 27513.

TICKETS: $5-$15. BOX OFFICE: 919/539-0993,, or (Carrboro), (Durham), and (Cary).

SHOW:, Productions&id=896, and


VENUES: Carrboro: Durham: Cary: DIRECTIONS: Carrboro: Us&b=Directions. Durham: Cary:

OTHER LINKS: The Play: (Samuel French, Inc.).

Robert W. McDowell is editor and publisher of Triangle Theater Review, a FREE weekly e-mail theatrical newsletter that provides more comprehensive, in-depth coverage of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill theater than all of the other news media combined. This preview is reprinted with permission from Triangle Theater Review. To start your FREE subscription to this newsletter, e-mail and type SUBSCRIBE TTR in the Subject: line.

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