STORY WRITTEN BY RITA CHARLESTON
For Digital First Media
A real-life married couple since 1999, Keir Dullea and Mia Dillon have worked together several times before on stage, sometimes playing spouses, sometimes not. Now they’re taking on another husband/wife role as Norman Thayer and Ethel Thayer in Ernest Thompson’s “On Golden Pond,” playing at the Bucks County Playhouse July 10 through Aug. 2.
The play begins as summer warms Golden Pond, the beautiful lake where Ethel and Norman have spent 48 summers. This year, their tranquil plans are turned upside down when their daughter and her new boyfriend arrive to drop his teenage son off for the summer. This play is all about growing up, growing older and learning to manage the ties that bind.
“This is about the eighth time Mia and I have worked together and we love it,” says Dullea. “Because we are husband and wife, as actors we have much more to draw on because we already have that relationship. The last time we played husband and wife was when we did Big Daddy and Big Mamma in ‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.’ ”
And now the duo, both with ties to our area, ( Dullea attended The George School in Newtown, Bucks County, and Dillon went to high school in Newtown Square, Delaware County) are gearing up for this iconic play.
In the 1981 film, Henry Fonda played the role of Norman Thayer., but Dullea prefers to be his own man in the role. “I saw the film when it originally came out, but I prefer to find my own way, and do what I feel is right for the role. I think the temptation is to go a bit soft with the character because on the surface Norman comes across as a bit grouchy. But actually he’s a very pleasant man, a retired professor, and has a lot of things going for him which makes him very interesting.”
Dullea himself has a very interesting past. Raised in New York City where his parents ran a bookstore, he attended Rutgers University and San Francisco State University before deciding to pursue an acting career.
Since 1957, he has appeared in more than 25 feature films, including “David and Lisa” (winner of the 1963 Golden Globe award: “New Star of the Year”) and “2001 A Space Odyssey” among others. He has made more than 50 guest appearances on television series, appeared on Broadway and London’s West End, as well as numerous regional theaters.
“I love exploring a role, and each time you do it you have the opportunity to get it just right, although you never arrive at the place where you think you’ve got it just right, where you feel confident. But, as actors, we keep trying.”
Bucks County Playhouse is located on South Main Street in New Hope. For tickets call (215) 862-2121 or check www.bcptheater.org.