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The Daily Tar Heel

Show Goes On Despite Tragedy

Now it seems to hit eerily close to home.

In an inadvertent parallel to the attacks on New York and Washington, D.C., "Cat's Paw" focuses on two terrorists who defend their motivation for a recent bombing. The play also includes a character reading from Psalm 23, as the play's cast said they had heard passengers on the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania allegedly did before they attempted to take control of the plane.

There also is a moment in the play in which one terrorist dreams of circling the nation's capitol in a plane loaded with explosives.

The similarities between the recent attacks and "Cat's Paw," caused Thursday's performance to be canceled and tickets refunded.

"After Tuesday, it was hard to imagine performing the play ever again," said Paul Frellick, the show's director.

But Frellick decided that the show literally must go on. With the question of whether the play should continue answered, his focus then shifted to how. "Two things we wanted to do were one, recognize what happened with proper respect and, two, to continue on," he said.

The performers wanted to make clear their intentions for continuing the production. The idea of producing the play was conceived long before the terrorist attacks on America. "We are not performing a play in reaction to last week," said cast member John Allore, who plays the hostage David Darling.

While Frellick continued the show's run, he did so by giving the audience full warning about the play's content and providing them a chance to express themselves. He stood outside the theater informing audience members beforehand about the play's subject matter.

A discussion session has followed each showing of the play since Friday's performance, and proceeds of the weekend performances were given to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief.

Although these concessions for the audience were made, Frellick was adamant about presenting the play uncensored and unchanged; the play's integrity depended on keeping it intact. "It was a consensus choice to do the play as we did it last week," he said.

Although Allore said he originally was concerned about the audience reaction, he was relieved by the crowd's honesty and openness. "(It was a) tremendous surprise. I thought they would throw vegetables," he said.

Despite the fears of the cast and producers, Frellick said the weekend was an overall positive experience. The discussions afterward let him know he made the right choice. "Each night someone said, `Thank you. This matters to me,'" he said. "It confirmed my hope that theater has power."

"Cat's Paw" continues through September 22 at the Deep Dish Theater located in the University Mall on U.S. 15-501. Call 967-6934 for ticket reservations and performance times.

The Arts & Entertainment Editor can be reached at

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