Talking It Over

February 1 – March 23, 2008

“…stylish script is well executed… The three principal actors are impeccable in every way”
    –Hedy Weiss, Chicago Sun-Times

“…a platform for five great performers… proof that books can be successfully transformed into vibrant plays… nothing less than an unqualified artistic success.”
    –Fabrizio O. Almeida, NEWCITY CHICAGO

Two great friends. Since grammar school. Sure, sometimes they can’t stand each other, but they’ve always been two great friends. Enter one more (a female one), and everything changes. And changes. This contemporary look at friendship, loyalty and love is at once funny and painful, as characters make their case to the audience and try to justify their actions in a scenario where everyone – and no one – bears the blame.

Adult language and situations, not appropriate for children under 16.

A world premiere based on the novel by Julian Barnes 
Adapted by Peter Greenberg 
Directed by Dorothy Milne

  • John Ferrick (Stuart)

    John returns to Lifeline where he previously appeared in The Two TowersThe Return of the King, and The Killer Angels. An ensemble member of Strawdog Theatre, he was last seen in their Jeff Award winning production Marathon ’33 and will be next seen in the world premiere of Brett Neveau’s new musical, Old Town, rounding out their 20th Season! Some other theatres John has performed with include: Goodman, Court, Eclipse, Famous Door, About Face, National Jewish, Roadworks, and many others.

  • Chris Hainsworth (Oliver)

    Chris is making his Lifeline Theatre debut in Talking It Over. He was last seen in Lord Butterscotch and the Curse of the Darkwater Phantom with Blind Faith Theatre. Chris has also been an ensemble member at Strawdog Theatre since 2000 where he has appeared in many productions including A Lie of the MindMarathon ’33Three Sisters, and Tooth of Crime second dance. Chris can next be seen in Strawdog Theatre’s world premiere production of Old Town, a new musical by Brett Neveu.

  • Elise Kauzlaric (Gillian)

    Elise is thrilled to be returning to the Lifeline stage. A member of Lifeline’s artistic ensemble, most recently she adapted Lifeline’s KidSeries productions of Half Magic and The Velveteen Rabbit. As an actor she has appeared in numerous Lifeline productions including Queen LuciaStrong Poison, and The Silver Chair. Other Chicago credits include King Lear at The Goodman Theatre, The Hound of the BaskervillesThe Importance of Being Ernest and Tartuffe at City Lit Theatre, Cabaret at Metropolis, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream at First Folio Shakespeare.

  • Katie McLean (Val)

    Katie has been a member of Lifeline’s artistic ensemble since 2006. She directed Johnny Tremain for the 2005-2006 MainStage season and The Cricket in Times Square for Lifeline’s KidSeries in 2003. As an actor, she has appeared in Crossing CaliforniaThe True Story of the 3 Little Pigs!Gaudy NightTrust Me On ThisFar From the Madding CrowdWhose Body?Cooking With Lard, and Bongo Larry and Two Bad Bears. She also assistant directed Lifeline’s multiple-award-winning Around the World in 80 Days. A native of upstate New York, she has been in Chicago since 1993 and worked on productions with BlindFaith, the Hypocrites, Bailiwick Repertory (including now then again, a Jeff Citation winner for Best New Play in 2000), Greasy Joan & Co., Shakespeare’s Motley Crew, Who Threw That Ham?, and Zebra Crossing. Katie is currently adapting The Mark of Zorro for the Lifeline MainStage and in her spare time is also writing her first full-length novel.

  • Ann Wakefield (Mme Wyatt, Mrs. Dyer, Mme Rives)

    Ann is delighted to return to Lifeline for whom she appeared in Love Medicine and Precious Bane; has taught in their Residency Program and served as dialect coach in several shows directed by Dorothy Milne. Ann has worked in South Africa, England, France and the United States as an actor, director and teacher. In Chicago she has received Jeff Citations for her performances in The Road to Mecca and Another Part of the Forestand an After Dark Award for The Lion in Winter. She is on the faculty of the Theatre School of DePaul University and recently wrote and directed Tales as Old as Africa for their Playworks series.

  • Peter Greenberg (Adaptor)

    This is Peter’s first adaptation for Lifeline. For the Actors Shakespeare Company based in Albany, New York, he served as co-writer or contributing writer for four original works: Victor’s Lot (Albany), Moliere’s Shorts (Albany, Atlanta and New York), Holy Matrimoney!(Albany), and Nights of Carnival (Atlanta). Peter is also an actor whose work has been seen frequently on the Lifeline stage, elsewhere in Chicago, and regionally. He also directed Lifeline’s 2004 production of Bunnicula.

  • Dorothy Milne (Director)

    Dorothy is a Lifeline ensemble member and has been Artistic Director since 1999. She has directed numerous shows at here including Around the World in 80 DaysJane EyreGaudy Night and A Room with a View. Other Chicago credits include Griffin Theatre’s Stardust and multiple shows with the solo-performance collective Sweat Girls, as writer and performer. Dorothy is also one of the organizers of the annual Glenwood Avenue Arts Fest. Come join us for free fun, August 23-24.

  • Jon M. Ravenscroft (Assistant Director/Dramaturg)

    Jon is excited to be working on his first production with Lifeline Theatre, after interning here last summer. A Theatre Arts student at The Theatre School at DePaul University, Jon hails from Wabash, Indiana and since moving to Chicago has had the chance to work with Hypatia Theatre Company, Dog & Pony Theatre Co., Chicago Children’s Theatre, The Sweat Girls and now Lifeline Theatre in addition to several productions at The Theatre School. Favorite productions include Richard III and The Last Days of Judas Iscariotat The Theatre School and Mr. Marmalade with Dog & Pony.

  • Ellen Willett (Stage Manager)

    Ellen loves working with Lifeline, where she has previously stage managed Half MagicCrossing CaliforniaStrong Poison and Sophie’s Masterpiece. Other Chicago credits include shows with Emerald City Theatre Company, Viaduct, StageLeft, Terrapin Theatre Company, Irish Rep, and many more. She also serves on the board of the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), a unique and vibrant music ensemble dedicated to advancing the music of our time.

  • Mikhail Fiksel (Sound Designer/Composer)

    Mikhail was imported from the frozen plains of Siberia to become a member of Strawdog Theatre, Serendipity Theater Collective and Teatro Vista. He is also an Artistic Associate with Collaboraction, the resident designer at Adventure Stage Chicago and on the faculty at Loyola University Theatre Department. Most recent credits include The CayEye of the Storm and The Ash Girl (Adventure Stage); The Little Dog Laughed(About Face Theatre); A Park in our House and My Children, My Africa (Victory Gardens); Men of Steel (Theater Wit); Hunchback of Notre DameThe Princess Club and Once Upon a Time(Redmoon Theatre); Massacre (Goodman Theatre with Teatro Vista); The Intelligent Design of Jenny Chow (Collaboraction); A Lie of the MindMarathon ’33 and Tooth of Crime(Strawdog); Angels in America, Parts 1 and 2 (The Hypocrites – 2006 and 2007 Jeff Citations); and Blindmouth Singing (Teatro Vista – 2006 Jeff Award). Outside of theatre stages, he can be found recording or performing with his band Seeking Wonderland or as a solo artist, sometimes under the moniker “dj white russian“.

  • Maggie Fullilove-Nugent (Lighting Designer)

    Maggie is delighted to be working with Lifeline this season. She is currently the Resident Lighting Designer and Production Manager for North Park University and a company member of Barrel of Monkeys, where she is the Production Stage Manager. As a Freelance Designer and Technician she has been fortunate enough to work with several amazing theater companies, including The House Theatre, 500 Clown, Strawdog, Neo-Futurists and The Hypocrites, to name a few. Her portfolio can be viewed at

  • Branimira Ivanova (Costume Designer)

    Branimira is a graduate of the University of Connecticut (MFA Costume Design) and the International Academy of Design and Technology (BFA in Fashion Design). Talking it Over is her first collaboration with the Lifeline Theatre. She has worked with Citylit Theare, Emerald City Theatre, The Gift Theatre, Pegasus Players, Infamous Commonwealth Theatre, Bailiwick Repertory, Black Sheep Productions, and dance companies: Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Gus Giordano Jazz Dance, Breakbone Dance Company and Thodos Dance Company. Out of state she has worked with Connecticut Repertory Theatre, Berkshire Theatre Festival (MA) and Miniature Theatre of Chester (MA). Branimira is a recipient of Certificate for Excellence in Theatre Design by USITT in 2007. Her work was part of the United States National Exhibit at the Prague Quadrennial World Stage Expo in Prague 2007.

  • Andre LaSalle (Scenic and Props Designer)

    Andre is proud to be making his Lifeline design debut. Recently he designed for the graduate program at Northwestern University which included Mary Zimmerman’s production of Cymbeline. Andre is also an actor and director. He acted in the Broadway tour of Neil Simon’s Lost In Yonkers, received his MFA in Directing from the University of Alabama and started the rustic Shakespearean acting company called The Rude Mechanicals who have collaborated with Northwestern University for the past three summers. Currently he is working on a series of figure drawings.

  • Phil Timberlake (Dialect Coach)

    Phil appeared on the Lifeline stage in The Island of Dr. MoreauQueen Lucia (Jeff Citation Nomination, Best Supporting Actor – Musical) and The Two Towers. He also coached dialects for Strong PoisonGaudy Night, and A Room With a View. Phil has also coached dialects at Stage Left (Fellow Travellers), Signal Ensemble (CloserShe Stoops to Conquer), and New World Repertory (A Streetcar Named Desire). He is the resident Voice and Dialect Coach at First Folio Shakespeare, and is an Assistant Professor of Voice and Speech at the Theatre School, DePaul University.

  • Charlie Olson (Technical Director)

    Charlie is delighted to be working with Lifeline on his 11th show. His other Chicago credits include stints with Silk Road, A Red Orchid, City Lit, and the Factory Theatres, as well as the Opera at Northwestern University. This coming year will see him managing the touring production of Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s Romeo and Juliet, as well as acting and designing in his own company’s (Theatre Seven) second terrific season.

  • Cortney Hurley (Production Manager)

    Cortney is excited to be working with Lifeline Theatre again for the 07/08 season. Previous and current production management positions include Ellen Under Glass for the House Theatre of Chicago; One False Note with Plasticene; Creole with InFusion Theatre; Marathon ’33A Lie of the Mind, and Aristocrats with Strawdog Theatre, where she is the mainstage production manager; as well as the Assistant Production Manager at Theater on the Lake for the last 4 years. During the school year Cortney can be found at St. Scholastica Academy, where she has been the resident designer (scenery and lighting) and technical theatre instructor/director for the last nine years.


February 13, 2008
By Fabrizio O. Almeida

As a platform for five great performers, as proof that books can be successfully transformed into vibrant plays and as a dramatic dissertation on disintegrating relationships, one likely to send shock waves of recognition through anyone who’s ever experienced one, there’s not much currently on the boards to beat Lifeline Theatre’s “Talking It Over,” writer Peter Greenberg and director Dorothy Milne’s world-premiere adaptation of English novelist Julian Barnes’ book. And like the 1991 novel upon which it is based, this stage version charts the three’s-a-crowd arrangement and Truffaut-like “Jules et Jim” dynamic among two men and one woman, and the damage that ensues after one of the men–Oliver–decides to pursue his best mate Stuart’s wife Gillian. Ultimately, this is your typical adult relationship drama replete with deception, resentment, accusation and some reconciliation, but albeit one laced with a thick British accent–which to my untrained ear sounded authentic and spot-on in this production. Adaptor/writer Greenberg deserves most of the praise: I’m usually suspect of literary adaptations–unless one has eight hours of stage time a la “Nicholas Nickleby” it’s hard as hell to distill the essence of a long novel into a satisfying theater piece–but I was deeply impressed with Greenberg’s decision to fold in much of Barnes’ original rhetoric into direct address monologues for the first act, setting up the foundation to these characters’ personalities and narrative arcs, and then abandoning much of this in the second half for a more traditional dramaturgical structure incorporating dramatized exchanges. Certainly the piece still has its dense passages and feels a bit overlong, but a balance between the discussed and the dramatized has been found and rewards are to be had for the audience member with an attention span. After all, it’s the details that make the characters exceptionally interesting, and it’s the details that leave one somewhat exasperated by them: the pompous and prolix Oliver could be the British cousin to any of American filmmaker Whit Stillman’s insufferable yet compulsively entertaining characters; Stuart’s obsequiousness gives ways to a perverse stoicism and a manipulative streak subtly runs through Gillian’s babe in the woods routine. In other words, the complete emotional experience is alive and kicking on the stage, thanks to the great charisma of all the performers, but mostly due to a fine adaptation that entertains while remaining truthful to the work’s literary roots. Since this is Lifeline’s raison d’etre, “Talking It Over” is nothing less than an unqualified artistic success.



From the Chicago Sun-Times

Play about cheating is fairly brilliant
Barnes’ stylish script is well executed by Lifeline’s cast, crew
February 13, 2008
By Hedy Weiss

Highly Recommended

What would writers do without adultery? From the Bible to Shakespeare,from Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina and Harold Pinter’s “Betrayal” to grand opera and country songs, this is one subject that invariably gets the ink flowing.

Of course, not all writers who deal with adultery are created equal. Beyond the whole matter of style, there must be the implicit understanding that such tales invariably end badly for all involved. And the writer must carefully mete out just the right degree of illicit desire, dangerous behavior, brief satisfaction, crushing guilt, punishment and remorse.

Julian Barnes, the contemporary British writer (and Francophile), is a master stylist who knows precisely how to construct (and deconstruct) the classic triangle. And in “Talking It Over,” his razor-sharp adaptation for Lifeline Theatre, Peter Greenberg proves he is in perfect sync with Barnes’ 1991 novel of the same name. So is director Dorothy Milne, her ideal cast and gifted set designer Andre LaSalle.

Like many of his peers, Barnes deals with love, jealousy and covetousness among the English chattering classes — smart, acerbic, selfish and sad in their contemporary way. And each of the characters has his or her Rashomon-like say about what really happened and how profoundly it changed them.

It starts with two good but very different friends — Stuart (John Ferrick), a kind, romantic, rather literal young banker, and Oliver (Chris Hainsworth), all flash, panache and arty fecklessness. Stuart gets the girl — Gillian (Elise Kauzlaric), a serious-minded art restorer. But they are a happy threesome until marriage leaves Oliver the odd man out, and willing to do anything to get Gillian. That is only the beginning. The consequences of it all are truly dark.

The three principal actors are impeccable in every way, but so is the supporting cast — the delicious Ann Wakefield as Gillian’s worldly wise French mother and Katie McLean, briefly stealing the show, as a brashly comic former girlfriend. Bloody good all around.