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The Daily Tar Heel

Play Explores Post-Sept. 11 Emotion

"Patriot," a production opening Friday, is co-sponsored by Studio 2 and the Center for International Studies. The performance features six short plays written by UNC students and presented by four student actors -- Matt Mercer, a senior drama major; Megan Ketch, a sophomore drama major; Melissa Egan, a junior drama major and Omar Robles, a senior journalism major.

In October, director and senior drama major Jeremy O'Keefe asked playwrights he knew if they would be willing to write a short play about one word. He went through the words "patriotic" and "patriotism," before "patriot" clicked.

"The word is not too much and not too specific -- it's hard to define, but all definitions are valid," O'Keefe said.

He hopes that the audience will want to effect change and that through this play he might be effecting change his own way.

"I didn't donate blood or money. I wanted to do something to respond, and the only way I knew how was through art."

The production gets a local taste when interviews of local students from kindergarten to senior high are shown between the individual plays.

Originally, video interviews of college students, professors and the public also were going to be shown, but O'Keefe decided to stick with the younger people because he was impressed by their interviews.

"In order to effect change, you have to focus on the right audience," O'Keefe said. "We're focusing on the kids because the kids are the ones who are going to make the changes."

"Patriot" is the theme, but for a work that reflects Sept. 11, the audience will never hear the exact date or events mentioned.

The idea is to discuss the issues raised by the events as the play explores topics such as airport security, the responsibilities parents have to their children and immigration.

"I like to think of our play as a starting point which will allow our audience to explore and evaluate their responsibility to their communities," O'Keefe said.

"Patriot" will be showing today to Tuesday in the Elizabeth Price Kenan Theatre.

The Arts & Entertainment Editor can be reached at artsdesk@unc.edu.

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