“On Golden Pond” actors actor Phil Thompson (Norman) and Barb Stauble (Ethel). Aaron Skolfield

“On Golden Pond,” the beloved 1979 play by Ernest Thompson, will be presented beginning at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, June 28, at Deertrees Theatre in Harrison. Additional evening and matinee shows will be performed through June 30.

“On Golden Pond” explores the story of Norman and Ethel Thayer (featuring actors Phil Thompson and Barb Stauble), a couple on the “far end of middle age” who have returned to their cherished lake house on Golden Pond in Maine, for their 48th summer. Norman is in the early stages of memory loss, and Ethel is determined to have a wonderful summer, knowing this may be their last. A visit by daughter Chelsea, her new boyfriend Bill Ray and his son Billy Ray Jr. prompts the play’s exploration of the turbulent relationship Chelsea shared with her father growing up, and the struggles experienced in the family.  The multi-generational characters grapple with challenging family dynamics as old scars are laid bare. This timeless play explores love, loss, humor, and the complex relationships that define our fragile human condition.

“This play offers insight and humor from the perspectives of a young boy, a new middle-aged couple, and parents in their twilight years,” shares Deertrees’ Executive and Artistic Director Gail Phaneuf. “There are elements of your life you thought would never change or evolve over time. At an age when adults no longer have a filter, or the physical abilities of youth, they attempt to reconcile where they stand in life’s journey and begin to let go. Closure might not happen, but it can resolve in acceptance of the inevitable next stage of life. Embrace it, because you only have today.”

Also serving as the play’s director, Phaneuf relates deeply to the script, through decades of summers spent at her family’s own Crystal Lake-front retreat home. She committed to produce this show after witnessing actor Phil Thompson (Norman) in a film noir musical. Realizing he was perfect for the role, she engaged him for the production. Phaneuf revels in the local cast, and its symbiotic connections, like actor Barb Stauble’s (Ethel) relationship to her grandson, also appearing in the ensemble as Billy Ray Jr.

“On Golden Pond” strongly resonates with the Deertrees’ Lakes Region community, many of whom have cherished their families’ multi-generation lake homes – that special place where they’ve gathered for years, enjoying the beauty and respite of Maine summers. Deertrees is a perfect setting for this beloved story, nestled in a tiny Maine town between Long and Crystal Lakes. This “time capsule” play may seem disconnected to the universal modern sensibility, helming from its 1979 setting. Nonetheless, it is an honest, snapshot in time and a portrayal of a family and a couple nearing the end of their chapter in a precious and magical place.

The local cast of “On Golden Pond” also features actors Allison Taber, Bob Sawyer, Daniel Rennie, Buddy Tucker, and the inimitable Sandy Swett as the quintessential Maine operator. Directed by Gail Phaneuf. For more information and for tickets, visit deertrees-theatre.org/on-golden-pond.

Tickets are $30. Deertrees Theatre is located at 156 Deertrees Road, Harrison. Ticket prices include a $2 Heritage Fee that supports the ongoing restoration and improvements to Deertrees Theatre. For more information, visit deertrees-theatre.org, email gail@deertrees.org, call 207-583-6747 or follow Deertrees Theatre on Facebook and Instagram.

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