The Elgin Theatre Company will explore themes such as aging, family dynamics and the generation gap in its winter production, "On Golden Pond."
The show opens Friday, Feb. 17, and runs through Sunday, Feb. 26, at the Elgin Art Showcase. Tickets are $15-$18.
If you go
The play, which was first produced in 1979, was written by Ernest Thompson and deals with ongoing, multigenerational conflicts among a family as they prepare to celebrate the patriarch's birthday at the family's summer home.
Many people are more familiar with the iconic movie of the same name, where father and daughter Henry and Jane Fonda played Norman and Chelsea. The 1981 movie won three Academy Awards.
"Jane Fonda saw the play and liked it so much she bought the rights to it so she could make a movie in which it was herself and her father, Henry Fonda," said ETC director Linda Collins.
Dennis Stewart of Streamwood warns not to expect the play to duplicate the movie.
"I don't want people to get confused between the play and the movie," he said. "I'm not saying that it's better or worse; it's just different."
One difference is the venue. Until this production, theater goers visited the Kimball Street Theatre at Elgin Academy for ETC productions. However, the entrance there is built on a hill, which can be a problem for ETC's typically older audiences.
"The Academy does not lend itself well to accessibility, particularly in the winter time," said Collins, who lives in Elk Grove Village.
The new venue at the Elgin Professional Building is small, but will suit ETC's purposes.
"This story is perfect for a more intimate venue because it's really about the relationships between all of the different ages in the family," Stewart said.
Stewart has played his character Norman more than once, and now finds more in common with the character than when he first played him.
"I see some connections between me and that age," Norman said. "The viewpoints of someone this age as opposed to the first time I was playing him at 67."
Benjamin Calhoun, 13, of Palatine said the biggest challenge in playing Billy Ray Jr. is the character's posture.
"The most difficult challenge is to get his walk right; he has to have bent shoulders," Calhoun said. "There's a line when Norman says, 'Why do you have to walk with your shoulders all bent like that?' That leads into a conversation about character development."
"I'm really sore," he added.
The age span between Calhoun, who is the youngest cast member, and Stewart, who at 78 is the oldest, mirrors the multigenerational theme of the play, which addresses the relationships between family members of different eras.
"I think a lot of people of different age groups will see themselves in there, and by seeing themselves may question how they treat elderly people or younger kids who are having problems and may examine a little bit about their lives," Stewart said.
"It's got a little bit of everything," Calhoun added. "It's got very sad moments and funny moments. It's kind of like a drama/comedy. It's heartwarming and amusing and makes you feel a lot of emotion."
Other cast members include William Petersen of Carpentersville, Reddy Royse-Andren of Elgin, Kim Green of South Elgin, and Richard Sherman of Streamwood.
Our editors found this article on this site using Google and regenerated it for our readers.