Playwright has role in local 'On Golden Pond' production


By PAULA TRACY
New Hampshire Union Leader |
July 03. 2012 10:21PM

Ernest Thompson laughs during a rehearsal of his play, “On Golden Pond”. Thompson is appearing in the Whitebridge Farm production as Charlie the Mailman. (Courtesy photo)







Ernest Thompson of New Hampton, who wrote the award-winning American classic “On Golden Pond,” is playing Charlie the Mailman and directing a production of his play, which opened Tuesday night in Laconia.

Thompson, whose internationally known play and Academy Award-winning movie depicts an elderly couple returning to a lake for the summer, is barely recognizable as himself playing the mailman in the Whitebridge Farm production that is being shown at the intimate stage at Pitman's Freight Room at 94 New Salem St., downtown Laconia.

The production runs through Aug. 12.

“He is absolutely hysterical,” said Nicky Puzzo of Derry. After watching about 20 rehearsals, she said she still finds herself laughing at Thompson's humorous depiction of the role.

It is the first time Thompson has performed in his own production.

Last summer, he produced and directed the production at the Little Church Theater in Holderness, on the shores of Squam Lake where the movie was filmed.

Puzzo's son Jordan, 14, who has appeared in commercials and had bit parts in a few movies, is having his theater debut as Billy Jr., who comes to live with the elderly couple for the summer.

Equity actors Vinette Cotter and her real-life husband, Frank T. Wells, are on stage together, as they were last summer for the production, as Norman and Ethel Thayer, the elderly couple.

Jordan Puzzo took an acting course offered by Thompson at his compound in New Hampton last summer and was asked to consider auditioning for the role as the young boy. The Puzzos have a summer residence in Meredith so it made sense for Jordan to try his hand at live theater, his mother said, though she noted he was at first reluctant to try out.

Being able to work with Thompson has been a thrill for Jordan, and the production, she said, is fabulous.

The venue for the production, Pitman's Freight Room, seats fewer than 300 and is perfect for the camp-like rustic feel of the production, Puzzo said. It is also air conditioned.

There will be matinees offered on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m. and evening performances are Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 7 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m.

Tickets are available by calling 707-7806 and more information is available at ongoldenpond.org.

ptracy@unionleader.com
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