Time and relationships. It’s the two elements director Naomi Woods said that makes “On Golden Pond” a show people around the world can appreciate.
Fort Frances Little Theatre will wrap up its 1997-98 season by staging this play April 16-19 at La Place Rendez-Vous. Dr. Ted Jablonski and Joyce Meyers play the lead roles, which were immortalized on the silver screen by Henry Fonda and Katherine Hepburn.
Dianne Thompson, Brian Hagarty, Ray Maynard, and newcomer Steven Klem round out the rest of the characters in this two-act play.
“I love the humour of the play,” Woods said. “It’s sentimental and light-hearted. It just reminds me of my grandparents.”
Dr. Jablonski and Meyers play an elderly couple whose daughter, played by Thompson, has fallen out of sorts with her parents but returns to meet them on a lake called “Golden Pond” after more than a decade of being apart.
Woods said much of the play is how the three, especially the father and daughter, mend the broken fences between them.
“It’s so well written, too,” she added. “Some of the lines are haunting.”
Although based on the same story, the play is different than the movie, Woods said; or rather, the movie is different from the original Broadway play.
Hollywood took a lot of liberties when creating “On Golden Pond” for the screen, she noted, and was able to move the scene around to different places in the movie.
All the scenes in the play take place inside the Thayer’s summer cabin, with no technical saving graces for the actors or the director to count on.
“This has been a little bit difficult to direct,” Woods admitted. “The actor really has to bring more life into this. It takes a lot of motivation.”
Because of the degree of difficulty, things came to together fairly slow at first, Woods said, but her cast, comprised mostly of Little Theatre veterans, has been able to bring it together very well.
“Each time we set out and try one scene, we discover something else [about it],” she explained. “It’s kind of like on an oil painting—we keep adding little details to it.”
Woods admitted it was a bit intimidating doing a play that eventually became a box office smash, especially with the differences between the two.
But she felt confident the audience could separate the play from the movie and thoroughly enjoy the production.
“It’s a very popular play right now,” she said.
Tickets for the three dinner theatre shows April 16-18 cost $28 each and can be purchased at La Place Rendez-Vous (reserved seating only). Doors open at 6 p.m., with dinner at seven and the show at 8:15 p.m.
Those on a tighter budget can attend the matinee performance Sunday, April 19 at 2 p.m. Tickets cost $10, which can be bought in advance or at the door.