Actors Reflect On Roles In 'On Golden Pond' - Brevard, NC


February 1, 2018

Courtesy photo

Bonnie Clark and Jack McConnell rehearse a scene from "On Golden Pond."

Anyone looking for a special Valentine treat for a loved one should take in Brevard Little Theatre's first play of the 2018 season, "On Golden Pond," by Ernest Thompson.

A true love story, it features the events of Norman and Ethel Thayer's 48-year adventure, spending idyllic summers in their rustic, rural Maine cabin at what was once a girls' camp. Now painfully aware of the approach of the Grim Reaper, they savor each moment, relive old memories, and strive to repair family relationships, especially that with their daughter, Chelsea. Regrets and disappointments join joys and delights in this family-friendly, warmhearted production.

Since mid-December, the dedicated cast and directors of the play have battled weather and illness to bring this show to the stage. Countless hours of individual and group work have paid off in a worthwhile result. Not only have they memorized lines, but they've also gotten to know their characters, felt significant emotions and read between the lines. They share their insights.

Jack McConnell, as Norman, senses his character's awareness of impending senility, for which he compensates with practical jokes and bullying tactics. His unexpected acceptance of Billy allows him to admit change into his life. After a youth of active theater involvement, McConnell took a 55-year hiatus before recently taking the lead in a Hendersonville play, followed by "A Connecticut Yankee" with BLT.

Bonnie Clark, as Ethel, calls the heroine a forward-thinker and life grabber. Although frustrated with Norman and Chelsea, she manages to smooth things over and look to the future, feeling that whatever happens is her "part of the dance." Beginning with her early life in Erie, Pa. Clark has had a life-long love of theater. She's been on stage and behind it in many BLT productions.

Heather Snipes, as Chelsea, sees her insecurities as the result of a confused childhood. Pleasing her father has been impossible for her, yet she persists in trying. Ethel often dismisses Chelsea's needs in order to placate Norman. Snipes is a BLT regular, usually appearing in a leading role. Her pride and joy is her menagerie of pets.

Wharton Donaldson, as Charlie, is the avenue to the past and precursor to Norman's need to change. His revelation of Norman's objection to his marrying Chelsea reveals the extent of Norman's control. Donaldson is a retired architect, first-time actor and newcomer to Brevard.

Doug Denton, as Bill, creates the turning point of the play, when he stands up to Norman. An outsider to the Thayer family, Chelsea's love interest, and Billy's father, Bill sees the big picture better than anyone else in the play. Denton is a chef, gardener and newcomer to Brevard.

Alex Guazzo, as Billy, is the generation bridge that promotes healing. He's both the son and grandson that Norman and Ethel never had, the spouter of teenage lingo, and the catalyst of Norman's transformation. Guazzo has had five years of acting experience in Flat Rock, Hendersonville and Brevard.

Because this is a popular play, patrons will want to secure tickets early, especially for the matinees, which tend to draw large crowds. The easiest way to buy tickets is online at, where a credit card produces immediate results. By calling (828) 884-2587 theatergoers may order tickets to be picked up beginning one hour before each show. A limited number of tickets might be available at the door.

Director Bonnie Whitmire urges residents to put these dates on their calendars and attend one of these shows: Feb. 9, 10, 16, 17, 22, and 23 at 7:30 p.m .; Feb. 11, 18, 25 at 3 p.m. The theater is located at 55 E. Jordan St. in downtown Brevard.


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