Theatre Oxford’s performance of Ernest Thompson’s 1979 play, “On Golden Pond,” premieres at 7:30 p.m. Thursday night at the Powerhouse after six weeks of rehearsals for the small cast.
“On Golden Pond” focuses on aging couple Ethel and Norman Thayer, who spend their summers on the lake Golden Pond. Their daughter Chelsea, alongside her fiance, Billy Ray, and his son Billy Ray Jr., visit Ethel and Norman at their vacation home.
Despite not having visited in years, Chelsea decides to fix the troubled relationship she has with her sick, aging father.
Kayleigh Graham, the Powerhouse’s facilities coordinator, said the venue wanted to feature this “timeless” show because it’s relatable to more than one generation.
“It relates to a lot of people that are older or younger,” Graham said. “You can find something in there that speaks to you.”
Chelsea, played by Paula Stack, does not have a good dynamic with her father and grew up feeling that she could not live up to her father’s expectations. Stack said she is able to draw on personal life experiences for her portrayal of the character.
“It’s amazing when you have life experience of people that you really dislike,” Stack said. “You can tap into that and the hurt. So, you reach in and find those little scabs.”
Set in the late ‘70s, “On Golden Pond” has a cast dressed for the era. “Getting to go back in time” is Stack’s favorite part of the play.
Chelsea’s childhood friend Charlie Martin serves as another main character. Charlie is now the town’s mailman, but he still has a crush on Chelsea. Kerry Jones, who plays Charlie, described his character as a “goofy sweetheart.”
Jones said the audience can expect “On Golden Pond” to be sweet and funny but a little rough around the edges.
“(The play) might be one that makes you think about your relationships that you might have been taking for granted,” Jones said. “I think (the audience) can expect something that is not only entertaining but endearing and thought-provoking.”
Jones also encouraged people to see the play, citing a major difference between live theatre and cinema.
“It’s completely different from watching TV or going to a movie,” Jones said. “The interaction between the cast and the audience makes such a major difference. The energy that goes back and forth is just incredible.”
Performances of “On Golden Pond” will also take place at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday as well as 2 p.m. Sunday.