Drama troupe holds 'Urine'

Members of the Pauper Players production of the musical "Urinetown" said they think the play will appeal to those with even the silliest sense of humor. "Urinetown," a musical characterized to parody the likes of "West Side Story," will hold its debut performance at 8 p.m. today in the Student Union Cabaret. Subsequent performances will be staggered. This weekend's run will be held through Monday. The group then will take a break for exams and conclude the show's run May 12. The musical takes place in the future after an epic drought forces all private toilets to be outlawed. To use a toilet, a fee must be paid to an evil, monopolistic company. Those who cannot afford the fee are sent to Urinetown, where hero Bobby Strong revolts against the company. Producer Kate Finneran said the show can satisfy all expectations of a typical musical. "In a word, it's brilliant," Finneran said. The group's head administrator and a pianist in the show, Ben Rumer, was recruited into Pauper Players as a music director via e-mail three years ago. "'Urinetown' was chosen based on the strength of the proposal turned in by (director) Sean Casserly," Rumer said. "We felt that Sean's proposal for 'Urinetown' was most complete and would provide us with a very successful spring show." Junior Rebecca Martin, who plays 7-year-old Little Sally, one of the play's two narrators, said of her character, "She knows what's what and she doesn't take any guff from anybody, including the other narrator - Officer Lockstock." Ryan Tumulty, a sophomore drama major, characterizes Lockstock as a corrupt officer who works to prevent people from using the toilet for free. "He's also the narrator and serves as a bridge between the audience and the ridiculous events of the play," he said. Martin, who has worked with Pauper Players in the past, said she has enjoyed meeting and working with the new young production crew. "They have wonderful energy, and their dedication to this show is truly inspiring," she said. "We have become one big, happy, evil corporation-busting family." Tumulty said it was that devotion - and the group's talent - that allowed the cast and crew to work so well together. "Usually it takes a week or so for people to get comfortable with one another before things really start to roll," Tumulty said. "But this cast has been so open, so welcoming and friendly that none of us feels the least bit self-conscious." Still, there were many challenges for those involved in the play. "I'm 5'7" and I am playing a character that is very young," Finneran said. "It has been a challenge and loads of fun getting myself into that character." Finneran also said the cast and crew have helped make "Urinetown" a memorable dramatic experience for her. "The Urinetown crew is an utterly incredible group of people, the most talented conglomeration of persons from all parts of the theatrical spectrum I've ever worked with." Contact the Arts Editor at artsdesk@unc.edu.

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