“You can’t beat death, but you can beat death in life sometimes. And the more often you learn to do it, the more light there will be. Your life is your life. Know that while you have it, you are marvelous. The gods wait to delight in you.”
In the winter of 1982, despite the ferocious winter weather and bone-chilling temperatures, the New Year brought Hollywood and one of the world’s biggest stars to Omaha. Jane Fonda attended both a fundraiser for the Omaha Community Playhouse and the premiere of her film On Golden Pond. In a tearful speech, Fonda was quoted saying, “There are no words to describe my emotions. To have the premiere of the movie here, for this cause…it’s so right.”
The Omaha Community Playhouse re-visits this timeless classic, with a cast that includes a slew of OCP veterans including Dennis Collins and Lois Nemec who play Norman and Ethel Thayer. Much like On Golden Pond movie stars, Henry Fonda and Katherine Hepburn, this is Collins’ and Nemec’s first time working together. Director Judy Hart (The Odd Couple) directs this coming-of-age story about a retired college professor and his struggle to accept that life is still worth living well past his prime.
“Norman starts this show ready to die, and he ends it ready to live,” Hart said. “I think we need hope. We need to see things turn around,” Hart said, when speaking about today’s relevance.
Being married for 52 years, Nemec said that she can really identify with her character. “The things people go through together when they go through most of their lives together, they get used to each other,” Nemec said. “I think when you’re with someone for that many years you kind of grow up together.”
To quote Art Linkletter, “Getting old isn’t for sissies,” Collins said. Collins is a lawyer in Norfolk, NE where he deals with trusts and estates, working with a majority of older people. Collins has a large amount of respect for this group because of the health problems and family issues that they go through. Collins went on to mention that several iconic actors have done this show, but the story itself lends a plethora of opportunities for interpretation. “I think a lot of older people would think they know this [show], but they might have forgotten it. To an older audience there will be things that are different than the movie.”
Note that this show is not obligated to a specific generation. This show is relevant to life in general, young and old alike.
On Golden Pond runs Jan. 20-Feb. 12, 2012, Wednesday–Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and a matinee on Sunday at 2:00 p.m. in the Howard and Rhonda Hawks Mainstage Theatre. Tickets start at $19. On Wednesday, Jan. 25, tickets are $7 at the Box Office after 4 p.m. for that evening's performance. For tickets, visit the OCP box office, call (402) 553-0800 or click here.
Article by Chad Cunningham