Gary Linehan, The Union Democrat

Stage 3 Theatre will present a new production of Academy Award-winning writer Ernest Thompson's classic play "On Golden Pond" Friday through Aug. 10 in downtown Sonora.

One reason Thompson's play has become a classic is, unlike its characters, its true-to-life themes don't age, said director Jon Dambacher.

"It's about the nature of love, time, and something every family has - secrets," he said.

Dambacher helms a piercing look at a family coming to terms with the roles they play in each other's lives.

Norman and Ethel Thayer, played by Michael Lynch and Francine LaMeire, are husband and wife enjoying retirement in their vacation home.

Charlie the mailman, played by Ben Adriano, stops in to ask about their estranged daughter, Chelsea (Katryn Weston), with whom he was once intimate.

A letter from Chelsea announces an upcoming visit bringing along her latest boyfriend, Bill (also Ben Adriano). It has been several years since the family has been together, but why?

Bill wants to let her parents know he's not like all the other men she's introduced them to. This one also has a son. Oddly enough, it's this man's 13-year-old son Billy Ray (Colin Gordon), who will help change these people's lives.

As the guests arrive, there's a lot more than clothes being unpacked.

"Love both separates and unites us," Dambacher. said. "It moves us forwards, backwards, to some things we wish never to relive, or it takes us to a place where we ache to go again."

The screenplay for the 1981 film "On Golden Pond" was adapted by Ernest Thompson from his 1979 play of the same title. Henry Fonda won the Academy Award for best actor in what was his final film role. Co-star Katharine Hepburn also received an Oscar for best actress, as did Thompson for his adapted script.

"Whether experiencing it for the first time or rediscovering it, 'On Golden Pond' promises a mesmerizing night of laughs, smiles, maybe a few tears," Dambacher said.

Show times are 7 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at 208 S. Green St.

Live music in the Great Room begins an hour before curtain.

For reservations or more information, call 536-1778 or