MOUNT AIRY — Six area theater veterans take the stage this month for a live production of Ernest Thompson’s 1979 comedy-drama “On Golden Pond.” The play is produced by the YVEDDI Senior Center of Surry County through its theater group, The Well-Seasoned Players. It’s the group’s fourth and most ambitions production since its reboot in 2014, and the first time the play has been presented in this area.
Brack Llewellyn, who is directing the play for the senior center, said the cast is equal to the task.
“This is a remarkably talented and experienced group,” he commented. “They immersed themselves in the characters almost immediately. Even in early rehearsals, the ‘magical moments’ were starting to emerge. It’s amazing to watch.”
Gary Maxey of Elkin and Jane Tucker of the Hart’s Store community portray Norman and Ethel Thayer, a senior couple spending one of many summers at their vacation home on Golden Pond in Maine. Maxey is well-known to local audiences for his work with the Foothills Theatre and more recently with the NoneSuch Playmakers. His last turn on stage was the role of Big Daddy in the Elkin production of “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.” Tucker is a longtime member of the NoneSuch Playmakers. Her last role was the title character in “Driving Miss Daisy” at the Andy Griffith Playhouse.
Norman and Ethel’s summer at Golden Pond is turned upside down with a visit by their estranged daughter Chelsea (Rachel Miller, Jane Tucker’s real-life daughter), her fiancé Bill (Brian Greene) and his 13-year-old son Billy (Addison Blackwelder). Chelsea coaxes her parents into keeping young Billy for a month while the couple travels to Europe. Much of the plot revolves around that visit and the changes it brings to Norman and Ethel’s lives.
“‘Golden Pond’ is many stories in one play,” said Llewellyn. “It’s Norman and Ethel’s love story as they age and deal with the challenges growing older brings. It’s also the story of Norman and Chelsea, who have never been close. They both feel the urgency to find closure as Norman’s health falters. City kid Billy finds a grandfather. Even Charlie the mailman (portrayed by David Nielson) has a touching reunion with Chelsea, who was his childhood crush at the lake. And it’s also the story of Golden Pond itself, and how that bright and serene body of water shaped the lives of the Thayers.
“’Golden Pond’ is by turns funny, heart-wrenching and thought-provoking. It’s a spellbinding 90 minutes of theater.”
Performances of The Well-Seasoned Players’ production of “On Golden Pond” are Friday at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. All performances will be held in the L.H. Jones Auditorium, 215 Jones School Road, Mount Airy. Tickets are $10 each and will be available at the door. The play does contain some adult language and adult themes. It is not recommended for children.
For more information, call the YVEDDI Senior Center at 336-786-6155, extension 225.