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Darien Arts Center's 'On Golden Pond' Features Family Dynamics Talks

Local psychotherapist Maud Purcell discusses interpersonal dynamics with the audience and cast following a previous performance at the Darien Arts Center.
Local psychotherapist Maud Purcell discusses interpersonal dynamics with the audience and cast following a previous performance at the Darien Arts Center. Photo Credit: Diane Farrell

DARIEN, Conn. -- The Darien Arts Center will feature two talk back sessions following performances of its spring production, "On Golden Pond."

The production of the 1979 classic by Ernest Thompson is the first of many events to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Darien Arts Center. The play tells the story of aging couple Ethel and Norman Thayer, who spend their summers at their home on the pond. The story unfolds as their daughter, Chelsea, visits them with her fiancé, Billy Ray Sr.. and his son, Billy Ray Jr. They ask the Thayers to watch Billy Ray Jr. while they visit Europe, which leads to unexpected bonding between Norman and the boy.

The first discussion will be following the March 14 performance and will feature a question-and-answer period with director Patrick Kiley and the show's cast.

The second scheduled talk will be March 21 and will feature Maud Purcell, who also conducted a lively discussion following the fall production of "God of Carnage."

The play deals with universal family themes, including love, loss, aging, resentment and forgiveness. Purcell, a psychotherapist from Life Solution of Darien, said  discussion topics likely will include the quest to please one's parents into adulthood, the normalcy of family dysfunction, the healing power of acknowledging vulnerability, and aging and its impact on individuals and families.

"The audience gets to see a turn of events that could actually happen," Purcell said. "They will be watching transitions within a family that can be inevitable for all of us. "On Golden Pond" allows them to have an inside look at the Thayers with tenderness and humor at the same time."

Purcell, the director and cast members will share their experience with the audience during the discussions, moderated by DAC board member Abbie Van Nostrand.

The cast of ‘On Golden Pond’ includes David Jackins as Charlie Martin, the local postman, Nancy Sinacori as Ethel Thayer, DAC Kids’ Theatre teacher and veteran actress Kitty Robertson as Chelsea Thayer Wayne, veteran actor Will Jeffries as Norman Thayer, MacKay Mumford as Billy Ray, and Eric Dino as Bill Ray, Sr.

Performances are March 13-15 and 20- 22 in the DAC Weatherstone Studio. Friday and Saturday shows are at 8 p.m. and Sunday matinees are at 2 p.m. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased online at or by calling the DAC box office at (203) 655-5414. The DAC is at 2 Renshaw Road, behind the Darien Town Hall.

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