Ennis – The Theatre Rocks! production of “On Golden Pond,” written by Ernest Thompson and directed by Bill Rhoten, offers a beautiful, thoughtful look at an aging love.
First of all, with Lisa Rosewell of Waxahachie and Bill Walker of Red Oak playing the long-married Ethel and Norman Thayer, you know you are in for a stellar show.
Rosewell has a definite talent for melting into her characters, from the frontierswoman Sarah Bowman in “Mojave” to Mother Superior in “Agnes of God.” This go-round, she’ll have you fully believing she is an elderly New England wife, both annoyed by and fiercely defensive of her husband, a retired professor whose memory is beginning to fail.
Walker plays the increasingly forgetful curmudgeon with panache, delivering great grumpiness – and also the underlying fear of old age, senility and losing his way. And his character’s preoccupation with death and dying creates some of the most humorous moments of the play.
The Thayers are estranged from their only daughter Chelsea, played by C. Dawn McCallum of Duncanville, but she makes a return to the summer cottage for her father’s 80th birthday. Her mother is “Mommy” but her father is “Norman” to her, not Daddy. McCallum conveys an adult confidence that just barely covers years of bitterness and resentment. It doesn’t take too much, especially for Norman, to scratch through that veneer.
Chelsea is accompanied to Golden Pond by her new dentist boyfriend, Bill Ray, played by Bobby LaBorde of Oak Leaf. It’s been a few years since LaBorde has been seen on the stage in Ennis and audiences are in for a treat with this experienced actor in the cast. He plays Bill with a great flair of verbosity.
His 13-year-old son, Billy Ray, played by Jonathan Marshall of Ennis, is a surprise addition to the visit. Marshall pegs the feistiness of Billy Ray. And the chemistry between Walker and Marshall is a delight, as the old grump warms to having a young companion and the young teen finds he can learn a few things – from fishing to French – from his grandpa in the making.
Joe Skrivanek of Ennis rounds out the cast as Charlie Martin, Chelsea’s summertime boyfriend from her youth and the local postman. Charlie is tickled about everything, whether he should be or not, and Skrivanek’s incessant laugh has the Theatre Rocks! audiences chuckling too.
To complete this top-notch theatrical experience, the fishing cottage set designed by the Kovar family of Ennis is jam-packed with fabulous detail.
Performances are 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, Oct. 18, 19, 25 and 26, and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 27. Tickets are $15 for general adult admission and $12 for students and senior adults. Theatre Rocks! is located at 505 N.W. Main St. in Ennis.
For information or reservations, call 972-878-5126 or visit www.theatrerocks.com.