The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Monday February 6th

'Funeral' at black box

In his freshman year of high school, Brian Fenty didn't cast classmate Joanna Zelman in a musical production he was directing. Even after making her sing "Ol' Man River" from "Show Boat," Fenty wasn't impressed. "When he didn't cast me, I didn't like him for the first two years of high school," Zelman said. But the two put their differences aside and became friends as they worked together on other drama productions before eventually coming to UNC together. Now, both seniors graduating in May, Fenty and Zelman are creative partners in "Uncle Morty's Funeral," a play written by Zelman, which opens this weekend. "Uncle Morty's Funeral," which was written in one day following the funeral of one of Zelman's own relatives, chronicles a dysfunctional family's humorous reunion. Incestuous relationships, awkward tensions, large generation gaps and more wreak havoc as Uncle Morty is laid to rest. "This was a great script I was happy to produce," Fenty said. "We respect each other so much, it's very personal for us - what we do as artists and creators." Zelman said that she and Fenty had plans to work on a show together for some time but that wasn't until she wrote "Uncle Morty's Funeral" that their plans were really set into action. "Joanna is really an amazing writer. Her characters are so well developed," Fenty said. "It's one of the most insane, chaotic, funny pieces I've seen." The show is being performed in Bingham Hall's Blackbox Theater independent of any student theater group on campus. Zelman said that because it was so late in the school year, many groups were not accepting new shows. But some involved said "Uncle Morty's" short production schedule, coupled with Fenty and Zelman's devotion to the play, has helped everything run smoothly so far. "This is the first play I've done in college, and it's really been just fantastic," said Katherine Lloyd, who plays 87-year-old family matriarch Rose Metzler. "(Fenty and Zelman) are both really strong presences, and they work so well together. There's always a fun, personal banter going on between them." But for Fenty and Zelman, being a part of "Uncle Morty's Funeral" has served another purpose aside from entertaining audiences. The two hope to continue their respective roles in the production in the professional world. "It's always good to continue to broaden the people you work with," Fenty said. "Being a producer, specifically, is all about mediating between different people and understanding relationships and creative personalities." Contact the Arts Editor at ATTEND THE PLAY Time: 8 p.m. today and Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday Location: Bingham, Room 203 Info:


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