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Roger Thomas Review: ‘On Golden Pond’ arrives at Norwood Community Center

The location may be different, but the play will go on. After a recent site change, “On Golden Pond” will go on at the Norwood Community Center. (I have discovered that the building is also called the Norwood Community Building.)

Roger Thomas

The Uwharrie Players’ production of “Golden Pond” is going to be a great evening of laughs and maybe a few tears. The Players’ hope that every performance in the Community Center will be sold out.

I have been to several of the rehearsals.

The first praise I offer to this production is that this is a great cast. As I wrote in my last column, I love the 1982 film version of “Pond.”

But I have to admit, these local cast members have charmed me and moved me emotionally.

I guarantee, if you are a fan of the film, you will find many things that remind you of the film, but you will also see many things that were never in the film.

I especially like much of the dialogue that never made it on screen. The play is not busy with the scenes on the lake as the film is, so the play has opportunities for many poignant lines of dialogue and some special moments of humor.

Going back to the cast, these six individuals fit right into the roles. I may be biased, because I knew most of the actors before I went to a rehearsal, but I truly find the portrayal of the characters is superb.

Director Gina Clark has done an outstanding job in casting this group and her leadership is grand as well.

The cast of six are Russ Sharples as Norman Thayer Jr., Andy Rassler as Ethel Thayer, Chuck Riordan as Charlie Martin, Lacey Whittaker as Chelsea Thayer Wayne, Tyler Poplin as Billy Ray and Ritchie Starnes as Bill Ray.

The other night when I arrived at a site that was a potential theatre, I watched the actors running their lines.

Then we learned that the play was moving to the community center. These actors and the director did not flench.

They were prepared for anything, even a move to a new site. After they settled in, they began to run through the second act.

There are a lot of thoughts I have about what I saw the other night at the rehearsal.

The cast was rehearsing the second act. I watched individuals imitating loons. Loons are important in this play.

There is a lot of great dialogue in the opening scene of the second act, and much of it was not in the film. Lines like these stand out for me: “What’s the point of having a kid?” or “Good-bye, woman.”

And then there is the climatic scene between Norman and Chelsea. I will not reveal anything, but I was moved emotionally.

This cast is that good!

I think “On Golden Pond” is about many things. It is filled with humor and insight. It is about growing old. Or just beginning the journey as Billy is.

I may be the only one, but I wonder if Billy would spend a second summer with the Thayers, or would he think that is no longer cool a year later.

I have thought often “On Golden Pond” is about life changes, the ones we cannot control. It is about generations and how they are different.

Will Norman and Chelsea truly become closer?

I want to hope that for the Thayers.

How long will this family be happy? Or how fleeting will the good days be?
Perhaps the best lesson from “Pond” is “seize the day.” I know that is used in the film “Dead Poets Society,” but it could also be a message for “Golden Pond.”

We do not know how long we have, but we can strive to use the time well.

In my imagination, I hope the Thayers have many more years on the pond.

“On Golden Pond” will be performed at the Norwood Community Center, also called the Norwood Community Building. This is a change from what was publicized earlier. Please make note of the change.

The dates for the performances are at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday and 7:30 p.m. Oct. 19-20 and 3 p.m. Oct. 21.

There is limited seating so please purchase your tickets early so you do not miss this wonderful production of “On Golden Pond.”

Advance tickets are also available at First Bank in Albemarle, Locust and Richfield, Starnes Jewelers at 127 W. Main St., Albemarle, and Second Street Sundries, 221 N. Second St., Albemarle.

Roger W. Thomas of Albemarle reviews films for The Stanly News & Press. He also enjoys local theatre.