The performances will be held at the National Guard Armory in Centre.
Director Gary Davis shared some background about the storyline for those who may not be familiar with the production.
“The play takes place in Maine,” said Davis. “The main character is a retired University of Pennsylvania professor who is about to have his 80th birthday. He is crotchety old man, well set in his ways.
“He and his wife of 45 years have a summer place in Maine on Golden Pond. They have been coming to this place every year since they acquired it, which was about the time of their marriage.
“His wife is a really kind soul who has put up with him all of these years. When I say he is crotchety, I mean he is really crotchety, hard to live with. When he doesn’t want to understand something, he doesn’t understand it and when he wants to understand it he does.”
“They have raised a daughter and the old man, Norman Thayer, has always been extremely hard on his daughter,” Davis continued.
“To the point where she resents the fact that she is his daughter. He even still calls her his little fat girl, so the girl now has decided to get married. She wants to visit with her parents before they go to Europe and get married so she brings her husband to be and her husband-to-be’s son to meet her mother and father and in the meeting of the two of them, there are the five of them, the son begins to make a connection with the old man that the daughter was never able to make and it just gives her one more thing, I think, to have in the back of her mind as a resentment but at the same time, it begins to soften the old man. He now sees what happiness he could have enjoyed with his daughter as he was bringing her up.”
“The boy likes to fish, he likes to do things with the old man and in a lot of ways, has the same personality as the old man and takes on even more of a personality like him as the play goes on,” said Davis.
“It is a serious play in that it talks about this broken relationship and how it is going to be healed. But at the same time, it is a comedy, it is funny. There are a huge number of subtle laughs but a huge number of just outright funny stuff and you just can’t help but laugh. Anyone who has the opportunity to come out needs to because you will certainly laugh, it will make you feel good. It will make you sad in a way, but at the same time it is very uplifting.”
Davis is proud to report that the production is coming together well, although there have been some obstacles.
“I had the flu,” said Davis. “Ted (who plays Norman) has been sick, Will (who plays Bill Ray) has been sick. I think have all of these things have worked against us, but I had the feeling last night that even those things had pulled us apart, they actually worked to pull us together, because we had to put a little extra concentration into it. I feel like now we are on the road.”
Davis reminds citizens that the performances are Feb. 28, March 1 and March 2 at 7 p.m. and the Sunday Matinee, March 3, at 2 p.m. Admission is $10.
“You are going to miss a good experience if you are not here,” said Davis. “I think everybody will have a real satisfied feeling when the play comes to a close.”
Rebeccca Watson plays the part of Ethel, Norman’s ever-patient and long-suffering wife. Watson said she is enjoying playing a leading role for the first time.
“I have always done supporting roles before,” said Ethel. “It has been quite a challenge. It is exciting because it is a real stretch playing someone who is much older so I am going to have some fun using liquid latex to make my face look a little older, trying to be true to the character as much as possible. I hope I do it justice. It is a lot of fun, because all of the characters have such great lines. There isn’t anybody wasting space. They all have pivotal parts in the story line. You can fall in love with each of the characters. It is going to be a lot of fun to put in on for the community.”
Watson described the relationship between herself and Norman.
“We are sort of like two different sides of a penny,” said Watson. “We balance each other out because we have been married forever. I kind of fill in and break the tension, run interference. To know Norman is to accept him for who he is and what he is. If you are new to him you may be a little put off by some of his humor. Ethel runs a lot trying to change the emotion of the moment.”
Watson said they have worked well together begin a small cast.
“The flip side is because it is a small cast, everybody has to pull their weight,” said Watson. “You can’t hide behind anything. I think from a personal experience this is probably one of the better efforts early. We are not all panicking at the last minute but there is a lot of dialogue and a lot of quips to remember back and forth.”
Watson is confident cast and crew will be ready when the curtain opens this Thursday, Feb. 28.
“I think we will be ready if we can keep everybody healthy,” said Watson. “I think it is going to be great. If the audience is coming to expect the atmosphere of On Golden Pond, they are going to get it. They are going to get what is true to the story. There are no crazy surprises or anything like that.”
“If you want to see a story that is very funny, heartwarming endearing even, this is the place to come,” said Watson. “It is definitely a family love story, has all the quirks of a normal, crazy family. Everybody can probably relate in some part to this play.”
Ted Bridges, who plays Norman, describes his character.
“At first I didn’t like being so crotchety but when Billy, the little 13-year-old boy comes on the scene, spends the summer with us, it really softens me up quite a bit and I mellow in my old age,” said Bridges.
“Gary has done a good job directing,” said Bridges. “Charlie Garrett has done a great job directing on the set. Rebecca has ordered the murals that really make it look like a lake scene.”
“This cast has pulled together,” said Bridges. “It is a close-knit and a good little team. We have worked together real well. I think it has been challenging because there is so much dialogue, page after page after page. It has been really fun. We are excited about putting on the show.”