'Golden Pond' has a county accent

WESTMINSTER — WESTMINSTER -- When the curtain goes up on the Carroll Players' performance of "On Golden Pond" this weekend, a bit of local flavor will be brought back to Carroll County.

Ernest Thompson, who wrote the comedy, spent his teen years with his family in Carroll County and graduated from Westminster High School in 1967.


"On Golden Pond," was first presented on stage in New York in 1978.

Tonight, Mr. Thompson's play will open at Frock's Dinner Theatre. After this evening's performance, shows will run Oct. 17, 23, 24, 25, 29, 30 and 31.


On Fridays and Saturdays, doors open at 5:45 p.m., with dinner at 6:45 p.m. and the show at 8 p.m. On Sunday, doors open at 1 p.m., with dinner at 2 p.m. and the show at 3:15 p.m.

A six-member cast will perform the contemporary story of an elderly couple, Norman and Ethel Thayer, who work through the day-to-day challenges of growing old together.

Director Marty Hankins of Hampstead describes the story as bittersweet, with strong characters and dynamic relationships.

"The characters have a lot of moods and personalities. The play shows all the ins and outs of the relationships," said Mrs. Hankins. "A lot of the play is what is not being said."

Mrs. Hankins, who is directing her first Carroll Players production, said she was drawn to the play for a number of reasons.

"It is a lovely play, and it has a Westminster connection in Ernest Thompson," she said. "Also, the cast was a strong cast, and I wanted to work with this particular group of people."

A theater teacher at Garrison Forest School in Baltimore County, Mrs. Hankins will be working with some new faces as well as some local favorites.

John D. Witiak, who plays Norman Thayer, is acting in his first Carroll Players production. While his role has meant memorizing many lines, the Union Bridge resident is pleased with his character.


"I hadn't realized, at first, the amount of memory work," Mr. Witiak said. "But I was able to learn the lines and have a lot of fun developing the character. There is a lot of subtext to Norman and Ethel in the play. The play is thought-provoking. It's real life, a lot of humor."

Roberta Rooney, who teaches drama at North Carroll High School, is performing in her seventh Carroll Players production.

Ms. Rooney plays Chelsea, the somewhat estranged daughter of Ethel and Norman Thayer.

"I find my character really easy to tap into, what she is feeling when she is upset," said Ms. Rooney. "I think she is so real. She has a good deal of baggage that she is carrying around on her shoulders, and she is trying to resolve her relationship with her father."

Ticket prices are $17.50; on Oct. 25 and 29, the price is $16.50.

Tickets can be purchased at Scharon's Black Eagle, Long's Florist and the Treat Shop. Information: 876-2580 or 876-2220.