Online archives from The Picayune Item

January 15, 2003

POS readies for 'On Golden Pond'

Special to the Item

Author Ernest Thompson wrote the play "On Golden Pond" in the 1970's, but this touching and warm perspective study of a spirited and lovable elderly couple facing their twilight years remains as current as ever. It has played on Broadway and was made into a movie. Now the opportunity to see this show, comes right here to the popular Picayune on Stage theater.

This is the love story of Norman and Ethyl Thayer who have returned to their summer home on Golden Pond, a cabin for they've been coming to for many years.

Norman (played by Joe Sanders) is a retired professor - nearly eighty - with heart palpitations and a failing memory, but he still has a tart tongue. Ethyl (played by Judy Gaupp) is ten years younger and delights in the small things which have enriched and continue to enrich their long life together.

They are visited by their divorced, middle-aged daughter (portrayed by Kourtney Scheel) and her dentist fiance, (played by Wilson Hunt) who then go off to Europe, leaving his teenage son (Christian Purdy) behind for the summer.

The boy quickly becomes the grandson the elderly couple have longed for, and Norman revels in taking the boy fishing and gets him to read good books. The young ward teaches Norman some modern teenage language, and the summer turns out to be wonderful with deeply moving moments toward the end of the play.

Charlie, (Sonny Mardis) the man who delivers the mail at Golden Pond, has always had a crush on Chelsea Thayer. His appearance on stage gives comic relief.

The cast of experienced actors welcomes a newcomer to the P.O.S. stage. Wilson Hunt, who plays the part of Chelsea's fiance Bill Ray, has worries when he goes to Golden Pond and meets Norman and Ethyl Thayer. Ethyl quickly puts him at ease-but Norman toys with Bill's mind, and Bill delivers a monologue that proves to please Norman.

This show is scheduled to be a theater reading where the cast carries scripts. The director, Gladys Hughes, chooses this format which she has used in the last two January plays- "The Diary of Ann Frank" and "Lilies of the Field."

Hughes said, "We like this type of show because of the short time between performance dates of the last show and this one in January. Because of the many holidays that occur in December and January, theater reading takes the pressure off of the cast."

Stage crew members include Helen Little, Lynn Lawhon, Donna Augilard and Dorothy Speight.

Dinner theater dates are 6 p.m. Jan. 24-25. Open seating will be 8 p.m. Jan. 31 and Feb. 1, and a matinee at 2 p.m. Feb. 2. Call for dinner theater reservations at 799-4476, or for open seating reservations at 798-1768.