are many iconic images, sounds and phrases associated with this title.
Legendary voices and personalities have inhabited it, galvanized it,
and secured its place in our contemporary cultural lexi-con. But yet,
when I sat down to read it, having never read or seen the actual play
itself, I was overwhelmed and awestruck by the impact of what the play
is really about ... not the images and the lines we so associate with
it. The pulse and heartbeat of the play were staggering to me. Timeless
and harrowingly real. I yearned for my own parents and to have the
chance to say the things we never actually said to each other before it
was too late, before the story marched on. The Thayer family and Golden
Pond were vibrantly alive to me, and any preconceived notions I had of
them and their story were gone. They were important to me and I wanted
them to survive . . . at least one more summer on the pond.
bravest, most courageous and selfless act on person can do for another
in this life is to simply 'rally.'"
There is an
undercurrent running beneath this play that is as strong and poignant
as any undercurrent running beneath any of the great stage classics of
the American theatre library. It is as present as the lake itself, as
the loons, and as the brilliantly humorous heartbreak on every page of
this beautiful play, yet it is never spoken, never overtly acted out on
the stage. But it
is the thrust that keeps this family alive.
The bravest, most
courageous and selfless act one person can do for another in this life
is to simply "rally." To suck in a deep breath and, with that breath,
swallow down one’s own pain and fear, regret and sorrow, and "rally" so
that the other person can recover, move forward, have peace, feel
comfort, and survive until the next moment.
One of my favorite lines in
this play is Ethel saying to Norman in the middle of Act I, "I'll take
you down to the old town road. You’ll remember it all, my darling;
we’ve walked it a
thousand thousand times.
” A thousand thousand times.
It is odd and truly specific to Ethel’s speak, yet we all know exactly
what she means. The comfort and peace those words bring. It is clear in
that exchange that she is "rallying." She is swallowing down her own
horrific fear in order to get Norman back to their world, to reconnect
him to the familiar, to reattach him to their lives. That is what she
does. It is what we all do for the ones we love. We rally.
FROM THE ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
I recently came across a quote from Tony-winning actor Mark Rylance:
met a wonderful jazz musician when we were doing Boeing-Boeing.
clearly brilliant, and I said to him ‘Where can I get a recording of
yours?’ And he said, ‘Nowhere.’ I said, ‘What do you mean? Are they not
available anymore?’ And he said, ‘No, why would I want to make a
recording?’ I said, “I don’t know, maybe for people who aren’t able to
be there to hear your music?’ ‘Why?’ he asked. ‘I won’t be there when
they’re listening to it.’ He literally never made any recordings; he
only was interested in the live, present moment. And the more I thought
about what he said, the more I thought, ‘yeah, I really agree – that’s
what’s most exciting to me: the live, present moment, with a group of
actors andan audience and the curious communication that goes on.
found that pretty fascinating, because if all musicians felt the same
way as thisun-named jazz musician, we would live in a world without
recorded music. Can you imagine that? I can’t.
And in the theatre, what
wouldn’t we give to be able to compare Sarah Bernhardt and Eleonora
Duse in their competing versions of The Lady of the Camellias?
about Richard Burbage’s Hamlet?
Or David Garrick’s Richard III?
Performances that live in legend, but not in memory, because we’ll
never see them.
Recently the idea has emerged of photographing great
productions during aperformance and screening them in movie theatres
far from the cities in which they’re playing. This is wonderful,
because instead of just reading about Brian Bedford’s Lady Bracknell,
future generations will actually be able to see it. We can only hope
this becomes a trend.
And yet . . . and yet . . . that “curious
communication” of the “live, presentmoment,” embraced by an
award-winning actor and brilliant jazz musician, simply is not possible
unless both performers and audience are present.
Which is why
technology, no matter how sophisticated and wondrous it becomes, will
never, ever replace living, breathing human beings, the actors and the
audience,sharing the experience at the same time in the same space.
Tonight is different from all other nights. Because you’re here. Now.
– Barbara Beckley