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On Golden Pond

Those who have seen the 1981 film "On Golden Pond" will likely remember the witty dialogue and intricate relationship between the films principal characters, which included performances by Katherine Hepburn and Henry Fonda. Both won academy awards for their performances, as did Ernest Thompson, who wrote the screenplay for the film based off of his own 1978 play.

Veering between the humorous and the dramatic, Thompson’s work tells the tale of Norman and Ethel Thayer, an elderly couple who spend their summers at their cottage on Golden Pond in Maine."It’s a love story about angst and conflict and humor among the generations and how the generations relate to each other," said Norman Seltzer, who will direct Thompson’s classic for the Potomac Theatre Company this weekend and next at the Bullis School’s Blair Family Center for the Arts.

The show features two veterans of local theater, Dick Hollands and Leah Mazade — who Seltzer described as one of the best actresses in community theater — as Norman and Ethel Thayer.Playing a complex character once inhabited by the likes of Hepburn has its challenges."There’s a lot going on with Ethel," Mazade said. "She’s in a place where her world is gradually being shaken, so [the hard part is] trying to get the arc of that character.""It’s a terrific cast," said Tony Pisarra, who plays the boyfriend of the Thayers’ daughter.

"One of the things that’s nice with the play is that there are really meaty role for older actors, so it’s a chance to work with some people who really know their way around the stage."To recreate the Thayers’ idyllic and rustic summer home has taken a great deal of work, including building and staining wooden floors and walls."We stained the pieces of wood and put it together like a real floor, it’s just fabulous," said longtime Potomac Theatre Company member Elie Pisarra-Cain, who has helped to build the set that was designed by Andrew Holland and the construction of which was led by Andrew Beck.

The best part of the show is that it will appeal to an audience of wide ranges, said Seltzer."It’s very simple in many ways, but at the same time I think it will probably ring a lot of familiar bells for a lot of people," Seltzer said."I know it’s been going well and it’s such a wonderful story, everyone should come and see it," Pisarra-Cain said. "It just makes you feel good."

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