Amos Fortune Forum: What’s Your Story?

Academy Award Winner Ernest Thompson
Academy Award Winner Ernest Thompson
photo by 3Sixty | Bruce Luetters

On Friday, August 16 at 8:00 PM, Oscar winning-writer Ernest Thompson will answer that question.

Everybody has one. Or two or two thousand. In Ernest’s nearly 50-year career, he has created, give or take, 40 plays of varying lengths, 30 or so screenplays, six manuscripts and more songs than he can count. Which adds up to a lot of characters. Where do they come from? And how does he get to know them so well?

When folks from all over the country attend Ernest’s renowned Write On Golden Pond workshops, held at his farm in New Hampshire, Ernest has a message for them: if you can’t think of a storyline or dream up vivid and complicated characters, go home; your family is full of them.

Storytelling is older than language; it exists in cave paintings and mothers’ la-la lullabies sung to their babies and, one would like to think, in birdsongs and whale songs, too. Sometimes the simplest stories can reach the widest audience. Ernest’s play, On Golden Pond, has been translated into 30 languages, Hebrew and Arabic among them — same story, different tongues, and universal experience. He also adapted that same story into an award-winning blockbuster movie, starring Henry Fonda, Katherine Hepburn and Jane Fonda. In his Amos Fortune Forum chat, Ernest will talk about how inspiration arrives at his door and keeps him awake at night, how all of us have talent, whether we choose to use it or not, and how, in the most alarmingly divisive and bleakest of times, sharing stories is more essential than ever.

Ernest’s work has won an Oscar, a Golden Globe, a Writers Guild Award and been nominated for a Tony, an Emmy and a BAFTA. He has directed, written for and/or acted ­— on Broadway, TV and the big screen — with 15 other Oscar winners or nominees, and could fill an evening with those stories alone. His newest film, Parallel America, starring New Hampshire’s own Gordon Clapp, Lisa Bostnar, John Davidson and Ernest, too, is in preproduction and open to investors, volunteers and anyone passionate about putting his or her patriotism on the line and making a difference. And telling a great story.

The Amos Fortune Forum invites residents and friends of the Monadnock region to hear notable speakers who welcome the opportunity to present their ideas on issues of public interest and importance on Friday evenings in July and August, at the historic Meeting House built in Jaffrey in 1775. Founded in 1946 by a group of friends, the Forum opens again this summer for the 73rd year, on Friday, July 5, 2019. Forum audiences and speakers thus continue to make a contribution to the intellectual life of our community. For more information about the Amos Fortune Forum, visit amosfortune.com.

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