Roses and Raspberries

July 16, 2013 

Maintenance worker Mark Stiles puts another load of debris in a shopping cart Monday before wheeling it to a Dumpster at Camelot Village Apartments. He is one of five men working to clear the complex of flood debris.


Raspberries to town and property management officials who made little headway in the last two weeks cleaning up piles of mildewed furniture, papers and household goods at Camelot Village Apartments on South Estes Drive in Chapel Hill.

Property manager Joel Duvall started with two maintenance workers and now has five collecting the debris, but they are limited to what they can carry by hand, with a furniture dolly or with an old shopping cart. Worker Mark Stiles said it would be faster if they used a backhoe, but it’s not possible because they have to sort the debris.

Duvall said he contacted the town for help cleaning up shortly after the June 30. The town is only emptying the dumpsters once a day, so it could take a while, he said.

Maintenance worker Dwayne Hayes is in temporary housing after losing his Camelot Village apartment to the flood. He and his roommate have been cleaning the complex by day and sleeping on thin foam padding at night. He expects the cleanup to take at least another week, then they can turn to cleaning the ankle-deep mud out of the pool, he said.

The situation is very different at the Rocky Brook Mobile Home Park in Carrboro, where dumpsters were set up immediately after the flooding so residents could toss their trash while salvaging other belongings.

Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt issued a 30-day emergency proclamation on July 8 that waives town fees for pickup of flood-related debris. Waiving fees is fine, but does little if the debris remains, collecting flies and stinking to high heaven in the summer sun, to say nothing of the possible health hazards to those residents whose second-floor apartments escaped the flood damage but who continue living with its daily reminder.

The town should send employees to the site to help speed the cleanup. Emergency declarations require emergency assistance.

Roses to the young cast and crew of PlayMakers Repertory Company’s Summer Youth Conservatory, who tonight begin staging Stephen Sondheim’s masterwork “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.”

Shows will be at 7:30 p.m. through Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday in the 200-seat Elizabeth Price Kenan Theatre inside the Center for Dramatic Art located on Country Club Road on the UNC campus. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for those under 18, a bargain considering the professionals who are working behind the scenes with the young performers and technicians.

For those not familiar with the tale, “Sweeney Todd” tells the story of a bloodthirsty barber who seeks revenge on villainous Judge Turpin, with the assistance of an amorous accomplice, daffy pie-maker Mrs. Lovett – reaping dastardly results. Featuring Sondheim’s legendary lyrical wit and musical storytelling, “Sweeney Todd” is entertaining and surprising, filled with comic turns and chilling drama.

The musical was universally praised as an instant masterpiece and became a Broadway hit with the Tony Award-winning 1979 production featuring Angela Lansbury. The New York Times called “Sweeney Todd” a “whopping grisly yarn” and “thumping good theatrical event.” The 2005 Broadway revival with Patti Lupone was also acclaimed and garnered Tony Awards.

It was embraced by even wider audiences with Tim Burton’s 2007 film version starring Johnny Depp and Sacha Baron Cohen.

PlayMakers’ “Sweeney Todd” is directed by Tom Quaintance, artistic director of Cape Fear Regional Theatre in Fayetteville. Quaintance helmed previous Conservatory productions including “The Mystery of Edwin Drood,” A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “The Music Man” and “Oliver!” He also directed PlayMakers Mainstage productions of “The Little Prince” and co-directed “The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby” with producing artistic director Joseph Haj.

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