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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Touching Lives ‘On Golden Pond’

Sunset Playhouse’s nostalgic production

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Touching on such familiar themes as growing old, dying and living with regret, Sunset Playhouse’s On Golden Pond takes a tried-and-true plot and finds a way to keep it fresh, fun and entertaining. The scene is set in a nostalgic summer home in Maine, complete with fishing rods and tackle boxes, and takes place today (updated from the film version).

Norman and Ethel Thayer (Michael Pocaro and Bonnie Krah) are an elderly couple moving into their summer home on Golden Pond. Norman, a retired English professor and insufferable pessimist, is convinced that he is going to die. His relationship with daughter, Chelsea (Donna Daniels) is virtually nonexistent. His memory is getting worse each day. Things take an interesting turn when Chelsea brings her new boyfriend, Bill Ray (Spencer Mather), and his son, Billy (Jake Badovski), to the house on Golden Pond. Although the setup seems melancholic, the play is filled with lighthearted moments, more comedy than drama.

While each actor had a moment to shine, the star, Michael Pocaro, delighted and amused with his sharp wit and deep understanding of his character. He was aided by director Bryce Lord and Ernest Thompson’s deft script, complementing humor and playfulness with bitterness, fear and the dark inevitabilities of life.

While the audience was mainly elderly, there was something for everyone to enjoy: the worries of getting older, a bad relationship with a family member, love lost and new love gained. The universal themes mark this production as something for anyone with any life experience to enjoy.

Through June 22 at Furlan Auditorium, 800 Elm Grove Road.