Themes of mortality, family relationships, marriage, and the generation gap all play out at Norman and Ethel Thayer’s small lake house in Ernest Thompson’s endearing play On Golden Pond.
The celebrated story comes to the Harriston Town Hall Theatre April 19, presented by the Grey Wellington Theatre Guild (GWTG).
On Golden Pond has been embraced by theatergoers since its first off-Broadway run in 1978, and by moviegoers since the 1981 adaptation starring Katherine Hepburn, and Henry and Jane Fonda. Nominated for ten Academy awards, the movie won three for best actor, actress, and screenplay. Thompson wrote the play at age 28, inspired by his boyhood visits to a family cottage in Maine.
Veteran actor and GWTG founder Patrick Smith will portray the curmudgeonly Norman Thayer Jr. One of the area’s most experienced actresses, Flora Burke, of Mount Forest, will take the role of Ethel.
Ten years younger than her 80-year-old husband, Ethel is a spritely woman who is in love with simply being alive. Norman is a memorable character who achieves personal growth despite his advanced age and slow mental decline.
The other characters in the show include 42-year-old Chelsea Thayer, played by Annilene McRobb, of Harriston; her boyfriend Bill Ray, played by Mark Hillis, of Mount Forest; and his son, Billy Ray, with Harriston’s Braeden Raftis in the role. The local delivery-by-boat mailman, Charlie Martin, is played by David Myer, of Fordwich.
Opening night is April 19 during a dinner theatre that begins at 6:30pm at the Harriston community centre.
Tickets are $45 and include a buffet meal, On Golden Pond, and a dance after the show with live music performed by Lindsay Morgan. Dinner theatre tickets must be ordered by April 11; call the GWTG box office at 519-338-2778.
Matinee performances are scheduled April 20 and 27 at 2pm with evening shows April 25 and 26 at 8pm; with all shows at the Harriston Town Hall Theatre, 68 Elora St., Harriston. The theatre is wheelchair accessible.
Tickets for matinee and evening shows are $15 and can be purchased through the box office. Grey Wellington Theatre Guild also offers a preview night (dress rehearsal) April 18 where seats are $10 cash at the door.
Director Richard Jaunzemis said the show will appeal to people of all ages and cultural backgrounds because its believable characters are both engaging and flawed.
Grey Wellington Theatre Guild has operated for more than 30 years. To follow its production schedule, visit wellingtonarts.ca/gwtg.