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On Golden Pond by Ernest Thompson


“You really are the sweetest man in the world. And I’m the only one who knows.” (Ethel, Act 1 scene 2)

On Golden Pond is the love story of Norman and Ethel Thayer. The tart-tongued retired professor and his long-suffering wife have stayed in their holiday home on Golden Pond in Maine each Summer for as long as they can remember. The house on the lake holds fond memories for them both, but for their middle-aged daughter, Chelsea, who has always felt that she is a disappointment to her father, recollections of childhood are more ambivalent.

Throughout the Summer, Norman seems to have a sense of restlessness as he searches for activities and amusements to fill his days on Golden Pond. When Chelsea arrives, under duress from her mother, to wish Norman a happy 80th Birthday, she brings moral support in the form of her new partner Bill and his teenage son, Billy. Norman is not known for his welcoming nature, but Billy’s sharp wit and easy going attitude strike a chord in the aging patriarch. 

Maybe it’s finally time for Norman to learn a thing or two about love, forgiveness, and the inevitable passing of time.

This classic American play was famously adapted into a Hollywood film in 1981, with Henry Fonda and Katherine Hepburn playing the irascible couple. Next Stage is proud to present Dave Dunn and Joanna Bowman as Norman and Ethel in this first production to use the theatre’s new auditorium layout for 150 audience members. 

Rehearsal Photographs: