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Davidson Community Players Sail Along On Golden Pond

by | Oct 19, 2017 | Arts & Entertainment, Davidson Community Players

With the sold-out production of “On Golden Pond,” the Davidson Community Players come one show closer to winding up another strong season of live theater for the Lake Norman community.

Ernest Thompson’s play opened to a successful Broadway run in 1979 and gained fame with the 1981 movie adaptation starring Henry Fonda, Katherine Hepburn, and Jane Fonda. Sylvia Schnople is straightforward in her well-paced direction of DCP’s rendition, and her strong cast delivers both the laughter and the pathos in what has become a community theater classic.

Set in what Mainers call a “camp” on a rural pond — handsomely rendered by designer Clay James — the action turns on the annual summer visit of owners Norman and Ethel Thayer. About to celebrate his 80th birthday, the retired professor’s memory is beginning to fail. He is obsessed with the prospect of decline — and death. The couple is routinely visited for coffee by longtime friend and mailman Bill (Todd Mangusson). Their somewhat estranged daughter Chelsey (Alyce Sminkey) and fiancé Bill (Mike Carroll) come for a few days, leaving Bill’s teenage son, Billy (Wilson Rouse), to stay for the summer.

Michael Harris’s Norman is crotchety for sure, a curmudgeon who doesn’t cotton to old age, and Ginny Darcy’s Ethel is a bright and tolerant light in his life. Younger than her husband, she still dances around singing old campfire songs and hops about swatting the bugs that find their way in through a broken screen door.

This show is perfect for DCP’s intimate Amour Street Theatre. Not subtle, the action gently unspools, suggesting that this camp has been livelier and noisier in years gone by. We see that old relationships can still grow, and that a whippersnapper comrade can put a spring in an old man’s step. But the action is framed with the (spoiler alert) dawning that this may well be Norman’s last summer on Golden Pond.

The Davidson Community Players has one more show up its sleeve for its Mainstage season, “Mom’s Gift,” a seasonal “comedy with a heart,” opening at Amour Street on November 30 and running through December 17. But first, DCP offers “Boos and Brews: A Halloween 10-minute Play Festival” (for ages 16 and up) on October 27 and 28 at its Actors Lab, located in the Chair Factory in Cornelius.

Plus! Disney’s “The Lion King Jr.,” with lyrics by Elton John and Tim Rice, is presented by the Connie Company at Amour Street from November 3 through 12. Check out DCP’s website for details and tickets – and watch for news of the 2018 season.

Meg Kimmel

A professional communicator with a long career in higher education, Meg now consults and volunteers in areas where words and images work together to tell a story. She's a proud member of Davidson's Class of 1977 and lives nearby with her husband, Don, Davidson professor emeritus of biology, with whom she shares a family grown by kinship and choice.

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