The Firehouse Community Theatre, Inc. closed its 2016-2017 season with their production of “On Golden Pond”. On Golden Pond was written by Ernest Thompson and has enjoyed much success and many productions since its debut in 1979, including a film adaptation in 1981 starring Katherine Hepburn and Henry Fonda.
The Firehouse production was directed by Joel Hawkins and starred veteran Firehouse actors Barbara Brandenburg-McDowell and Doug Patterson as married couple Ethel and Norman Thayer who are both trying to cope with their aging in very different ways. While Norman (Patterson) provided comic relief by delivering one liner after another about his own mortality and looming and certain death, Ethel (Brandenbug-McDowell) is clinging to her youth by engaging in conversations with her “first love”, a doll that she has had since childhood, and recounts songs from her days as a girl at summer camp which she sings while dancing across the stage.
Laura Reed played their daughter, Chelsea, whose strained relationship with Norman has led her through a string of relationships. Chelsea brings her newest beau, a Dentist named Bill (played by Jack Webb) to Norman’s birthday party with a surprise guest Billy Ray, son of Dentist Bill.
After some contemplation, Ethel suggests that ‘the boy’ Billy should stay the summer on Golden Pond with herself and her cantankerous husband.
Joel Cadena (Billy Ray), a young actor and new addition to the Firehouse troupe who most recently appeared in their children’s production of “Little Red and the Hoods”, and Doug Patterson (Norman) shared a good deal of on stage chemistry which made for very heartwarming banter between the two.
When Chelsea returns to retrieve Billy at the end of summer it is revealed that she and Bill Sr. Have eloped just before she is confronted with an old flame from her past, Charlie Martin, played by Michael Shough.
As the elderly couple pack up to leave the summer cabin there is a touching scene between Brandenburg-McDowell and Patterson after Norman collapses with palpitations, which seems to unite the two characters to the same page for the first time in our little glimpse into their lives.
The production was both fun and contemplative and the actors delivered light hearted performances for a fitting close to their season.
As Barbara Brandenburg-McDowell recites her last line just before the final blackout “Hello, Golden Pond. We’ve come to say goodbye.” The Firehouse Community Theatre says it’s goodbye for the season and will be back in the Fall with their 25th season with an all new and exciting line up for us all.