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Oliver Hazard Perry to perform at the fairgrounds tonight

| July 23, 2013

Oliver Hazard Perry-Jeremy MeierCOSHOCTON — Ohio Chautauqua, presented by the Ohio Humanities Council, will start their performances tonight at the Coshocton County Fairgrounds at 7:30 p.m. Tonight’s performance will be Jeremy Meier, from Sylvania, Ohio, portraying Oliver Hazard Perry, famous for his role in The Battle of Lake Erie during The War of 1812.

Meier has been involved in first-person interpretation since 2001. “I first had an opportunity to research, script and perform historical figures while I was in grad school at The Ohio State University in 2001,” he said. “I was working on my MFA in Acting and I was accepted by the Ohio Chautauqua to create a performance on George Armstrong Custer and his involvement in the Civil War.  Since that time, I have also toured with the Ohio Chautauqua in 2005 for my portrayal as John Dillinger and last year I developed this current portrayal as Commodore Perry.”

Meier began by researching Oliver Hazard Perry, The War of 1812, and The Battle of Lake Erie back in July of 2011.  He had to understand what conditions were like in building a squadron in the wilderness, to understand the politics of the times and motives for and against warfare with Britain.  “I had to understand battle strategies and a lexicon of naval terminology (some of which has changed over time),” he explained. “After about nine months of notecards, footnotes and an ‘art project’ timeline of Perry’s life and the events of The War of 1812 sprawled across my kitchen walls—I started to write the monologue.”

Meier says that one of his favorite things about performing, especially in this form of first-person interpretation, is that he always has to start all over from the beginning.  “There’s always so much you don’t know at the beginning of the process and it’s energizing to be faced with the question, ‘How do I tell this great story?'” he added.

Along with Oliver Hazard Perry, the other characters who will take the stage are: Dan Cutler as Iroquois leader Chief John Logan; Debra Conner as frontier aristocrat Margaret Blennerhassett; Marvin Jefferson as Lewis & Clark expedition member York; and Hank Fincken as naturalist and folk hero Johnny Appleseed.

Tonight, Larry Stahl and Steve Ball will provide musical entertainment prior to the performance at 6:30 p.m. under the tent at the fairgrounds. The youth workshop, sponsored by the Coshocton Public Library, will be at 10:30 a.m. at the Presbyterian Church and will feature Hank Fincken on Becoming Johnny. Debra Conner will lead the adult workshop at 2 p.m. today at COTC and will speak on Women on America’s Western Frontier. Admission and parking are free.

Sponsors and contributors to the Ohio Chautauqua in Coshocton include The Coshocton Foundation, Montgomery Foundation, Simpson Family Foundation, Kiwanis Club of Coshocton, Kraft Foods, Given Dawson Funeral Home, Tom Leech, Raven’s Glenn Winery, Coshocton Village Inn & Suites, Central Ohio Technical College, Coshocton Presbyterian Church, Coshocton Public Library, and Frontier Power.

There is no charge to attend the evening performances or the daytime workshops. For more information about The Ohio Humanities Council and Ohio Chautauqua visit www.OhioHumanities.org. For more information about Ohio Chautauqua in Coshocton, contact the Coshocton Visitors Bureau at (740) 622-4877, 1-800-338-4724 or www.VisitCoshocton.com.

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Category: Arts & Entertainment

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