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Some of the brightest minds in the entertainment industry during the 20th century are set to collide Thursday on the stage of Chapel Hill's Deep Dish Theater Company.
"Orson's Shadow," an off-Broadway show written by playwright Austin Pendleton, is a fictional account of an actual event in 1960.
"Orson's Shadow" tells the story of how the English-language premiere of Eugene Ionesco's "Rhinoceros" brought together writer Orson Welles, actor and director Laurence Olivier and the future wife of Olivier, actress Joan Plowright.
To shake things up, Olivier's wife at the time, actress Vivien Leigh - best known for her role as Scarlett O'Hara in "Gone With the Wind" - showed up at the collaboration.
"It's a conjecture about what those rehearsals might have been like," said Paul Frellick, artistic director of the Deep Dish Theater Company and director of "Orson's Shadow."
"It's an imagined take on what might have happened, given the larger-than-life characters involved."
Frellick spoke of the complexities of the characters in the show, especially the aging Welles.
"His greatest films are behind him - the only true success was 'Citizen Kane,'" Frellick said. "He's starting to put on the weight - he's struggling to finish films."
At the time, Welles was still a creative and energetic artist, but he was unable to recapture the success of his early career, Frellick said.
Portraying such a monumental character from history is an assuredly daunting task, and actor Derrick Ivey, who plays Welles, acknowledged this difficulty.
"There's always a bit of a stigma of playing a character people are familiar with," said Ivey, who encountered this dilemma when he played former president Richard Nixon in a previous performance.
Ivey, acting in his first Deep Dish production, used videotapes, audio recordings and pictures to try to identify a few key things about Welles' mannerisms.
"Once that's done, just forget about it and work on the play," he said.
Initially, there was some nervousness because of the responsibility of playing real people, but the play is really a work of fiction, Frellick said.
"This grants the actors permission to get the spirit of the person without feeling the need to impersonate them," he said. "It isn't photo-realism we're working towards."
Frellick said the imagined creative process portrayed in the show is fascinating.
"That process can lead to success or failure," he said. "There's sometimes no way to tell why it worked one time and didn't work the next.
"This is an example of how the process can go wrong at every step but somehow result in a successful production."
The show runs from Aug. 24 through Sept. 16. General tickets are $16, $14 for senior citizens and $12 for students.
On Thursday, Sept. 7, tickets can be purchased to attend a pre-show dinner and post-show reception with Pendleton, as the playwright will be in town seeing his play performed.
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Repairs to the North Chiller Plant that caught fire in February are scheduled to be completed by next week.
The chiller plant, located behind the Bell Tower, supplies cooled water to air conditioning units in University facilities.
Though two of the six cooling cells were destroyed by the fire, causing an 11 percent loss of cooling capacity to the overall system, the accident has not interrupted air conditioning services.
Cool winter temperatures kept a minimal demand for the chiller plant until recently.
A new chiller plant, located south of UNC Hospitals, opened earlier this month - helping to relieve the stress felt from the damaged plant's closure, said Jim McAdam, manager of chilled-water systems at UNC.
He said steps have been taken to help eliminate the risk of another fire. The Chapel Hill Fire Department and University officials concluded that an electrical short caused the blaze to break out.
With summer rapidly approaching, University officials decided to move quickly to get the damaged plant back in working order.
Bruce Runberg, assistant vice chancellor for facilities construction and planning, said the repairs - which totalled about $300,000 - have not affected other campus construction efforts.
"It's unfortunate it happened, but fortunately we were able to fund the repairs properly," he said.
Repairs include replacing the structure and timber frame of the chiller plant, as well as installing a new gear box, motor and fan.
Because the fire most likely was caused by an electrical short, all of the low-voltage circuits were removed from the tower to simplify the overall electrical installation.
Byrd Construction was hired by UNC to make the necessary repairs with the aid of $350,000 from the University's fire and lightning insurance policy.
The funds were allocated by the UNC-system Board of Governors at a meeting earlier this month.
During the meeting, emergency funds were also approved to help repair a section of a steam distribution tunnel on Pittsboro Street.
Part of the road has been closed since February because the tunnel can no longer support the weight of vehicles traveling on the street.
The project is estimated to cost $1 million and will be funded by utility receipts.
The third project funded was repair to an underground cavity beneath Skipper Bowles Drive. The project, estimated to cost $6 million, will be funded by higher education bond funds and repair and renovation funds.
To ensure a safer set of facilities, the plants were evaluated by Affiliated Engineers Inc. - a company which specializes in mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineering.
"We feel like we've done everything we can to keep it from happening again," McAdam said.
Though the repairs have proven expensive, air conditioning services have remained intact throughout the process, and University officials are confident that the problem has been solved.
"It's an expensive lesson to learn," McAdam said. "But we've learned it."
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Students joined together Tuesday supporting red, white and Carolina blue.
Carolina Armed Services Alumni Day, sponsored by the General Alumni Association, allowed students to show their support for UNC alumni serving in the military.
By sending care packages and postcards, GAA leaders are helping alumni serving nearby and abroad maintain a positive connection with UNC and its community, said Jennie Biser, chairwoman of the GAA service committee.
"We couldn't ask for a better day, better weather or better participants," said Biser, who coordinated the event.
Starting at 10 a.m., students and faculty came by the Student Union breezeway to sign postcards and to package goods such as snack foods, toiletries, UNC memorabilia and other gifts.
The GAA sponsors a number of community service events throughout the year, including an annual project in the spring such as this.
Previous years' projects have included working with developmentally disabled adults and helping rescued animals at a Durham shelter.
By 1 p.m., helpful participants had packaged all 100 boxes and had written 250 postcards to members of the armed forces who were previously enrolled at UNC.
About $1,200 of donations were received through the event's Web site to help finance the purchases of supplies and the packages' shipping, said Mike Ludwick, manager of student programs at the GAA.
"The general idea was to do an outreach project from the student sector that would affect the alumni," he said.
About 650 UNC alumni are listed as serving in the military, and only about 350 of those have reliable mailing addresses. Of these, about 70 replied to e-mails from the GAA expressing interest in the program.
The postcards will be sent to all of the mailing addresses, while the packages will be sent to those who replied favorably to the GAA's e-mails.
The remaining packages will be distributed with help from the Carolina Troop Supporters and the UNC ROTC program.
Responses to the e-mails sent out were very humbling, Ludwick said.
"Across the board we heard, 'If you don't have enough, send it to someone else. I know there is someone else who is more deserving,'" he said.
Event coordinators emphasized the apolitical motivation for the event.
"We're not protesting or supporting the war - we're supporting the Carolina alumni," said Christina Rogers, a freshman service committee member.
GAA will continue to accept monetary donations online through Thursday at alumni.unc.edu/article.asp?SID=3648.
"Folks are deployed in Iraq, Afghanistan, North Carolina and all over the U.S.," Ludwick said. "The one thing that they have in common is they are all part of the Carolina family.
"It's a community that we feel very good supporting."
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UNC students are being asked to bleed Carolina blue a little more than usual today.
The "Beat Duke! UNC vs. Duke Annual Blood Drive Challenge" is in its second day, challenging the two Tobacco Road rivals to collect as many donations as possible.
"It's a great way to help save lives," said sophomore Lauren Burcal, chairwoman of the biomedical committee for UNC's Red Cross Club.
The event coincides with Red Cross Month, she said, and is in the general spirit of March Madness.
The competition started Thursday and ends today, running from 11 a.m. until 4:30 p.m in the Great Hall.
Since its founding in 1879, UNC's School of Medicine has worked to stay true to its mission of offering top-quality instruction to its students.
And with decades-old facilities, administrators are looking to introduce technological updates to modernize the school.
Berryhill Hall, a teaching facility that caters to health sciences graduate students, is on the cusp of a major renovation aimed at bringing the building into the 21st century.
Located southwest of the Bell Tower, Berryhill Hall was designed as a comprehensive medical teaching facility.
Project managers expect the much-needed updates, which include updating heating systems and a first-floor lecture hall, to be completed by summer 2008.
"The design by today's standards is woefully inadequate," said David Perry, executive associate dean for administration in the school.
The renovations are expected to cost about $15 million and will begin this summer.
"We're still in the design (and) review process," said Bob Marriott, an associate dean in the medical school.
He said the plans are being reviewed by N.C. insurance officials.
"The state building codes have changed substantially since that building was constructed in the '70s," Perry said.
A study regarding the possible changes was conducted in the late 1990s, he said.
"University general administration engaged a consulting firm to go around to all the campuses and find buildings in need of repair and renovations," he said.
"Berryhill Hall was identified as needing a series of 'system upgrades,'" Perry said. "For example, the heating, ventilation and air condition system was shot."
Perry said these systems are only expected to last from 25 to 30 years, and they already have exceeded their life expectancy.
In addition to those systems, renovations will include a number of updates to the safety and rest room facilities.
The most noticeable change will be the renovation of a lecture hall on the first floor, which will receive state-of-the-art features, Perry said.
"A lack of really good, high-quality space is a huge impediment to any institution in terms of trying to position themselves in being among, if not at the top, of the leading institutions," Perry said.
"These renovations will assure our ability to attract students."
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At age 14 most adolescents are worrying about what to wear, who to hang out with and how to deal with the opposite sex.
But by 14 Farrah Gray already had made his first million working out of his office on Wall Street.
With a business card reading, "21st Century CEO" and the ambition to match, Gray began his business career as others began kindergarten.
Gray spoke on campus about his roots and his successes Thursday night to a crowd of about 120 students, who filled the gallery to almost capacity.
The Campus Union Activities Board brought Gray to the Student Union art gallery to help spread his message of empowerment and determination.
Gray told his story, which begins in inner-city Chicago.
"I grew up, ebonically speaking, 'poh,' as I like to say," Gray joked.
In his elementary school class when students went around the room saying what they wanted to be when they grew up, Gray's answer was not what the teacher was looking for.
"I'm going to be a millionaire," he told his teacher.
"No, you're not. You're poor, and your family's poor," he said his teacher replied.
His teacher's response apparently was not what he was looking for either.
From selling painted rocks as bookends and paperweights to creating his own brand of lotion and selling it in nearby neighborhoods, Gray eventually founded the Urban Neighborhood Enterprise Economic Club at age 8.
The club, where Gray and his ambitious childhood friends met to try and find ways to make money, was the first of many creations for Gray.
He went on to co-host the nationally televised show "Backstage Live" at 10 years old, start New Early Entrepreneur Wonders, at age 13 and eventually become a millionaire with his company Farr-Out Foods at 14.
But personal success was not his only goal, Gray said. Through personal charity, setting up schools around the country to teach entrepreneurship and speaking tours, Gray helps youth to gain the potential to succeed.
"I'm a spokesperson for leukemia, homelessness, and I'm writing my next book. I could use a nap," said Gray, referring to his contract with MasterCard to aid the American homeless, his follow-up to the very successful book "Reallionaire" and his personal project of fighting leukemia.
On Tuesday Gray's sister, Greek Gray, who is diagnosed with leukemia, was given 90 days to live unless she receives a bone-marrow transplant, Gray said.
The problem, Gray said, is the lack of bone-marrow donors who are black. More information about this project can be found at www.gglf.org.
"I believe I come at a time when our souls and minds are in great danger," Gray said. "We are a people of a rich history, a rich legacy, a rich culture. We can do anything we put our minds to," he said to a primarily black audience.
"He's very motivating, especially given his background," said senior psychology major Jessica Jerald after the speech. "You need that paradigm, to show that it is possible."
Gray said he is only able to accept about 10 percent of the requests he receives to speak at various events, but he said he was delighted to speak at UNC due to the "spirit and reputation of the school."
It appeared that Gray's speech had an effect on his audience, as students lined up to pitch their business ideas to the self-made success story afterwards.
"He had us all mesmerized," said James Williams, a sophomore political science and economics double major. "If that's what he uses to sell himself and his businesses, it's no wonder he's so successful."
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Moving can be a headache. Being forced to do so can be a migraine.
Many rising juniors say they are finding it is too late to stay on campus -- even after administrators scrapped a change in policy that would have given rising sophomores seniority in recontracting.
Because of a widespread negative reaction from students to the impending change, housing officials offered a compromise - dropping the change of seniority but keeping other changes, such as reserving an additional 5 percent of North Campus space for underclassmen.
The changes were part of a plan to relocate upperclassmen to South Campus to the new Ram Village apartments, which are set to open in the fall.
But many students wish the compromise had come sooner - before they felt forced to look for alternative housing options rather than face living on South Campus.
"If you want to get a place off campus, you pretty much have already decided," said Chris McEachran, a sophomore psychology major.
"Originally I had wanted to live on North Campus."
Now set to live in a duplex on Green Street, McEachran said he believes that this is not the only time his class has gotten the short end of a deal, pointing specifically to the ongoing renovation of Morrison Residence Hall.
"They put about 1,000 people out of a spot," he said. "Now they're adding more underclassmen to North Campus."
"I feel like the administration is out of touch with how people live and operate in the dorms," he said. "Living on South Campus was a good experience, and I don't understand why they feel the need to give more spots on North Campus to freshmen."
Anna Glasgow, a sophomore psychology and biology double major, also said she found herself locked into an off-campus residence when she would have been content with North Campus housing.
She said that she and her future roommates would lose money if they decided to seek campus housing because they already are in a binding agreement.
"I think it would've been nice if they had informed students of the original changes a long time ago," Glasgow said. "It kind of makes a difference when it's right at apartment time."
Still, living off campus isn't necessarily a bad thing, she said.
"I think one of the advantages of living off campus is it forces us all to really figure out how to cook, how to do laundry," she said.
Glasgow said that the housing department's back-and-forth policy changes were frustrating, but that living in off-campus housing will probably work out for the best.
"I think it will be positive," she said. "It caused a bit of an annoyance at first, but in the end it will be a good thing."
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According to a report issued by the chancellor's task force on diversity in April, the vast majority of UNC students agree that Chapel Hill represents a uniquely diverse campus.
But many overlook the ongoing efforts to expose minority students to positive experiences that will ensure their success in the professional world.
The Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs, along with various co-sponsors, recently has initiated the Leadership Institute, a program aiming to provide such possibilities.
"The Leadership Institute is an opportunity to gain hands-on, interactive leadership training in a unique learning environment," said Terri Houston, director of recruitment and support services for diversity and multicultural affairs.
The program is open to sophomores and juniors from historically underrepresented populations, with any major, who excel both in academics and extracurricular activities.
Sophomores and juniors should have grade point averages of at least 2.7 and 3.0, respectively, organizers say.
Applications for admission to the institute are due by 5 p.m. today. For more information go to www.unc.edu/diversity.
Through a series of group presentations, interactive workshops and hands-on projects, participants will be provided with experiential learning to help prepare them for both personal and professional success.
"It is our hope that this will have a profound effect on Carolina," Houston said, adding that it "puts Carolina in the forefront for creative and innovative opportunities on campus."
Once in the institute, students will be required to attend six sessions from February through April. Sessions vary in theme, with the first serving as a workshop for each student to develop a personal mission statement.
Subsequent sessions include a discussion of networking skills with a CEO, a mock court trial on ethics with circuit court judges presiding and a game of golf at Finley Golf Course. On the green, participants will mix business with leisure, learning to drive both a hard bargain and a golf ball.
The institute specifically targets the "best and the brightest," Houston said.
More than 600 invitations to apply were extended, and approximately 100 students attended an interest meeting Jan. 18. With only 40 available slots, acceptance to the program should be competitive, Houston said.
Anthony Miller, a sophomore psychology major applying to the program, called the institute a "great opportunity for the historically underrepresented to really get a chance to succeed."
"Every facet of UNC benefits from having a diverse population," said Stacie Hewett, associate director of admissions and recruiting for the Kenan-Flagler Business School's Master of Accounting program - a co-sponsor of the institute.
"UNC, being a top university, is aware of the importance of diversity," she said.
By providing a collaborative leadership program for minority students, supporters of the institute said they hope to create a lasting initiative.
"We want the Leadership Institute to become part of the very fabric of UNC," Houston said. "You can't tell me there's one company out there who doesn't want these kinds of students."
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