Cambridge teenager makes Drayton debut in ‘On Golden Pond’

Evan Kearns will play his teenage son Billy Ray in the classic play On Golden Pond at the Hamilton Family Theater, starting next week

Ethel and Norman Thayer return to their summer home on Golden Pond for the 48e year for a well deserved rest and relaxation.

The classic heartwarming comedy-drama On the golden pondby Ernest Thompson, is live on stage at the Hamilton Family Theater Cambridge from July 20 to August 6.

True love that spans the ages is explored with wit, wisdom and warmth in this touching comedy about relationships.

“Everyone should go out and see a play that has been around for all these decades and is so loved. It’s because he has so much heart. It’s about difficult questions, like death and agony,” says On the golden pond director, Marti Maraden.

“And after two years without being able to practice the profession that we love so much, it’s wonderful to meet the public again.”

Maraden says the play delivers a heartwarming message about celebrating life’s everyday moments and appeals to all generations of viewers.

It begins when Ethel and Norman Thayer’s summer routine comes full circle when their daughter Chelsea visits them for her father’s 80th birthday.e birthday party, bringing her boyfriend Bill and her teenage son, Billy, in tow.

After an unexpected relationship blossoms, a tense family dynamic comes to the fore again as they are forced to navigate the generation gap through “expressive and tart conversations” about fishing, literature, slang , marriage and their own mortality.

Maraden has a long personal connection to the play.

“On Golden Pond was first produced in September 1978 at the Hudson Guild Theater in New York City,” Maraden said.

“In 1981, I did my first show at the Hudson Guild Theater in New York. So I was very aware of the play and its success, and then the movie was shot in 1981. I was in Los Angeles and I remember watching the Oscars. It was in tears that Henry Fonda posthumously received the Oscar for best actor. So it’s been a special 40-year connection with the piece.

Maraden says the play strikes a balance between comedy and drama.

“The heart felt things were happening, the difficulty of family life, the way you resolve conflicts of several years and how wonderful it is to have a thirteen-year-old boy, to intervene in the middle of it and being a catalyst for healing,” Maraden said.

Cambridge’s Evan Kearns makes his Drayton Entertainment debut playing teenage son, Billy Ray.

The Grade 8 pupil from Woodland Park Public School in Cambridge says the cast was very welcoming and supportive.

“They have great personalities and I really enjoy working with them,” Kearns says.

He adds that it’s exciting to be back on stage after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This character is cool and he’s kind of fun, kinda like me,” he said. “On the golden pond is a very affectionate show. It’s funny, entertaining and moving. It is very moving.

Maraden says Kearns is young but experienced and has done so much already.

“Because he has real experience on stage and in film, you know he has real discipline. He’s very talented. And he’s a lovely young actor and a lovely young man,” Maraden says.

“And starting to work with grumpy old Norm played by Ben Campbell, that must have been daunting. But the two are joking now and we all think the world of him.

The ageless comedy also stars Justin Bott who plays Charlie Martin.

“He’s such a lovely character. Charlie drops anchor at Golden Pond. It’s a wonderful world. Some people know him and some people know him for the first time, just like Billy. The set, costumes and the acting is gorgeous and the design team is just wonderful,” Maraden said.

“Love the story and the cast. It’s been such a joy. On the golden pond is something that everyone can recognize and be touched and have a great time meeting these people.

Drayton Entertainment is a registered non-profit charity and one of Canada’s most successful professional theater companies. From Broadway musicals to comedies and dramas, Drayton Entertainment presents live theater for all ages on seven unique stages, in six locations, in five communities across Ontario.

On the golden pond is about the full cycle of life, just like the loons on the lake, where you see the pair of loons at the start of the piece. They have a baby that flies away and in the end the parents are on their own again,” says Maraden.

“It’s basically the story behind the play and the healing between father and daughter. I think anyone who watches the play will recognize something in their lives that is very poignant and special.

For more information and tickets, go here.