@ The Black Box Theatre, 430 N. Main St.
 

On Golden Pond

By Ernest Thompson, directed by Larry Chandler

  • (L to R) Mike Cook (Bill Ray), Owen Glidewell (Billy Ray), Karen Buerdsel (Chelsea Thayer Wayne) and Nikka Ziemer (Ethel Thayer)
  • (L to R) Nikka Ziemer (Ethel Thayer) and Jack Ullrich (Norman Thayer)
  • (L to R) Nikka Ziemer (Ethel Thayer), Owen Glidewell (Billy Ray), and Jack Ullrich (Norman Thayer)
  • (L to R) Jack Ullrich (Norman Thayer) and Marilyn Artuso (Operator)
  • (L to R) Nikka Ziemer (Ethel Thayer) and Bobby Senecal (Charlie Martin)
  • (L to R) Nikka Ziemer (Ethel Thayer), Owen Glidewell (Billy Ray), and Jack Ullrich (Norman Thayer)
  • (L to R) Nikka Ziemer (Ethel Thayer) and Jack Ullrich (Norman Thayer)
  • (L to R) Mike Cook (Bill Ray) and Jack Ullrich (Norman Thayer)
  • (L to R) Karen Buerdsel (Chelsea Thayer Wayne) and Nikka Ziemer (Ethel Thayer)
  • (L to R) Jack Ullrich (Norman Thayer) and Nikka Ziemer (Ethel Thayer)
  • (L to R) Karen Buerdsel (Chelsea Thayer Wayne) and Nikka Ziemer (Ethel Thayer)
  • (L to R) Jack Ullrich (Norman Thayer) and Nikka Ziemer (Ethel Thayer)
  • (L to R) Nikka Ziemer (Ethel Thayer), Bobby Senecal (Charlie Martin), and Jack Ullrich (Norman Thayer)
  • (L to R) Jack Ullrich (Norman Thayer) and Nikka Ziemer (Ethel Thayer)
  • (L to R) Jack Ullrich (Norman Thayer) and Nikka Ziemer (Ethel Thayer)
  • (L to R) Karen Buerdsel (Chelsea Thayer Wayne) and Jack Ullrich (Norman Thayer)
  • (L to R) Jack Ullrich (Norman Thayer) and Nikka Ziemer (Ethel Thayer)
  • (L to R) Jack Ullrich (Norman Thayer) and Nikka Ziemer (Ethel Thayer)
  • (L to R) Jack Ullrich (Norman Thayer) and Nikka Ziemer (Ethel Thayer)

Nov 20-Dec 05, 2015

FRI NOV 20,27, DEC 4| 8:00 PM
SAT NOV 21, 28, DEC 5| 8:00 PM
SUN NOV 29, DEC 6 | 2:30 PM
THRS DEC 3 | 7:00 PM

Description

The love story of an elderly couple, Ethyl and Norman Thayer.

Director Larry Chandler has degrees in theatre from Weber State University and University of Utah and is retired Department of Army Civilian Theatre/Entertainment Director. He has directed/produced (both professional and amateur) over 300 stage productions in my life. About the play, he says "It has always been one of my favorite plays and movie. The story is timeless and is of a nature that commands the attention by all, young and old, who see it or know it. Our approach is to be true not only to the author's story and what he has written but also to the emotions and relationships of the characters and at the same time entertain. This is a love story, love of each other, love of family, love of life, love of the land - specifically "Golden Pond" and connection of family thru angst, conflict and compromise."

Credits

Billy
Charlie
Chelsea Thayer Wayne
Ethel Thayer
Mike Cook
Norman Thayer
Telephone Operator
Asst. Director
Co-set Designer/engineer
Director
Lighting Designer
Stage Manager
Written By

Reviews

No Strings 'On Golden Pond' is heartwarming fun
- By Karen Caroe, Las Cruces Bulletin

The only thing missing from No Strings Theatre Company's production of "On Golden Pond" is the scent of pine in the air. From the charming, rustic set of a backwoods Maine cabin, designed by director larrychandler, to the imaginary mosquitoes and black flies, the audience is drawn into the lakeside summer home of Norman (Jack Ullrich) and Ethel (Nikka Zeimer) Thayer.

The Thayers are returning to their summer home to celebrate Norman's 80th birthday. Having spent 43 summers together on Golden Pond, Norman and Ethel have passed through all the phases of life from young lovers to parents to retirees. Norman, suffering from failing health, is convinced that this will be his last summer at the cabin.

Many theatergoers know "On Golden Pond" from the 1981 movie with Henry Fonda and Katherine Hepburn; two icons who created characters that were memorably irascible. For many, creating these roles on the live stage might have been a daunting task, yet Ullrich and Zeimer met the challenge as the veteran actors that they are. Both approached the roles from their own points of view and gave the audience fresh interpretations of the characters.

Ullrich's portrayal of the outspoken Norman was much more winsome and engaging than expected. In contrast to Henry Fonda's portrayal of a mostly humorless man, Ullrich was actually quite likeable from the very beginning. Zeimer's development of Ethel as the touchstone of the family provided the perfect balance for each of the other characters. The chemistry between Zeimer and Ullrich was outstanding.

Kudos to director, larrychandler, for giving his actors the freedom to reinvent these well-known characters and staging the show to accommodate their choices.

Early into the first act, Norman and Ethel are surprised by a visit from their estranged, middleaged daughter Chelsea Thayer, played by Karen Buerdsell. She has brought along her boyfriend, Bill Ray, played by Mike Cook, and Bill's 13-year-old son, Billy Ray, played by Owen Glidewell. A relationship between Billy and Norman brings a fresh vitality for life to the aging Norman and helps open the door for healing some of the family's troubled past.

Throughout the evening, Zeimer allows us to see Ethel's many layers and successfully demonstrated the complexity of the Thayer family relationships. Zeimer was delightful, flitting around the enlarged stage to enjoy the loons on the lake while softening the edges of her "old poop," Norman. There was a particularly lovely scene between Ethel and Chelsea (Buerdsell) as they danced and sang a campfire song, recreating childhood memories of the summer camp on the opposite shore of Golden Pond. Buerdsell may have the most challenging role in this play - she must exhibit the fallout of strained family relationships, attempt reconciliation and relinquish her emotional baggage in a very limited number of scenes.

Owen Glidewell, a newcomer to No Strings Theatre Company, was fabulous in every one of his scenes as the awkward thirteen-year-old Billy Ray. Again, larrychandler's directorial decision to make Billy Ray more awkward than bratty, endeared him to the audience. Glidewell's comedic timing is spot on, and the evolution of his character through a relationship with Norman is captivating.

Mike Cook, as Bill Ray the dentist, was brilliantly played. His "sex" talk scene with Norman about bedroom assignments was a highlight of the evening. Their exchange was witty, perfectly timed and yielded some of the best audience response of the evening. Completing the cast is Marilyn Artuso and Bobby Senecal. Artuso is perfectly cast as the candy- loving regional telephone operator while Senecal plays Charlie the Mailman, a classic Maine native. His lifelong crush on Chelsea is so sweetly played, I almost hoped they'd get together in the end.

Peter Herman's lighting design of the spacious Maine cabin was superb. Dawn's early light in one scene was never so appealing. The sunshine grew as the early morning progressed and I was certain that the sun had risen on stage. Rafael Medina's sound design and Autumn Gieb's costume designs complemented the set and the action.

"On Golden Pond" is loaded with some amusing one-liners and clever sarcasm, but it also contains some poignant commentary on the complexities of familial relationships, forgiveness, and fresh starts. It is much more than two old codgers saying slightly risqué things and dispensing misty truisms about family strife and death. It is heartwarming and just good plain fun. Make your reservation today for "On Golden Pond" at the newly remodeled Black Box Theatre.

The Black Box Theatre is located at 430 N. Main St. Performances are 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, with a special 7 p.m. performance Thursday, Dec. 3. Tickets are $12 regular admission, $10 students and seniors over 65 and all seats on Thursday are $8. For more information or to make reservations, call 523-1223.

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Auditions Open!

Photograph 51 Audtions
Sunday, December 3 at 7:00 p.m.

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