Backstage Theatre presents artistic healing in relationships |

Backstage Theatre presents artistic healing in relationships

Summit Daily/Brad OdekirkRobin Newton, playing Jeremy, and Dana Cottrell, playing Marlene, go toe to toe with eachother in "Talking Things Over With Checkov" the Backstage Theatre's newest production.

What: “Talking Things Over With Chekhov”When: 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays through June 18Where: Breckenridge TheatreTickets: $15

Rating: Mature audiences (language, subject matter)Call: (970) 453-0199BRECKENRIDGE – For the next few weeks, Summit County’s community theaters offer intense portrayals of relationships.Both the Backstage Theatre and Lake Dillon Theatre depict couples fighting their way through relationships.The Backstage Theatre’s production of “Talking Things Over With Chekhov” takes an entertaining and artistic look at a couple who run into each other in a park after being apart for three years. Though it has its share of emotional moments, it’s the lighter of the two theatrical offerings in Summit.

Robin Newton plays Jeremy, a neurotic, aspiring, off-the-wall playwright who draws inspiration from extended conversations with Chekhov. Marlene (played by Dana Cottrell) is his ex-girlfriend – a neurotic, aspiring, off-the-wall actress who wants to make her dramatic comeback in Jeremy’s new play. When they run into each other, Marlene’s as angry with Jeremy as the day she threw him out. Still, she becomes intrigued with him again when she reads his play, which he wrote about their relationship. The energetic dynamic of artistic pursuits takes over, and the two begin to meet day after day in the park.Jeremy is a tortured artist type, while Marlene is an egotistical – and at times annoyingly insecure – character. Or, as Cottrell herself puts it: “She’s just one of those people that you love and you hate. You get to (see) the whole spectrum from happy and sad to mean and nice.””Talking Things Over With Chekhov” is a play within a play – in which the playwright has imaginary conversations with the dead Russian dramatist, which creates layers of interest.The imaginary discussions with Chekhov began one day when Jeremy, after wandering around aimlessly after breaking up with Marlene, found a book about Chekhov in a bookstore.One of Chekhov’s lines particularly stands out to Jeremy: “The more you hate, the less you remember.” He realizes writing is the act of truly remembering, and so he sets out to truly remember his relationship with Marlene.

As Marlene edits Jeremy’s screenplay, the collaboration becomes a healing process. She sees herself anew from his dialogue. And she insists Jeremy rewrite Act II – from his heart this time – to make it a great play, saying “Hate like ours is special.”As the two fight, make up and fight again, the pair create great art. Because, as Marlene points out: “Good art’s about what we know. Great art’s about where we’ve never been.”In this way, the two temperamental artists reach beyond love, loss and hate into a creative process of self- and other-discovery.”Talking Things Over With Chekhov,” a play by John Ford Noonan, runs at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays through June 18 at the Backstage Theatre. Themes and language are meant for adult audiences. Tickets are $15. For reservations, call (970) 453-0199.Kimberly Nicoletti can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 245, or at

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