Wednesday, Jun 20, 2018
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Owens teacher retells story of Lake Erie hero


Jeremy Meier, assistant professor of fine and performing arts at Owens Community College, portrays Comm. Oliver Hazard Perry, naval hero of the War of 1812, in a one-man show he developed and wrote.

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Preparing a monologue as Comm. Oliver Hazard Perry has been a process of seclusion for Sylvania resident Jeremy Meier.

"I wouldn't call it a lonely process, but there is a lot of solitude," said Mr. Meier, an Owens Community College assistant professor of fine and performing arts. "You create the whole thing, you research the character, the time period, develop the script, and then you kind of self-direct yourself."

He was commissioned by the Ohio Humanities Council to develop and write the one-man show, Oliver Hazard Perry: Hero of Lake Erie. Mr. Meier spent nine months researching Commodore Perry, the Navy commander who is known for his victory over a British squadron during the Battle of Lake Erie.

Mr. Meier will take on the role of Commodore Perry during a Sept. 10 performance at Owens in conjunction with the bicentennial celebration of the War of 1812.

"I was very fortunate to have some resources significant to northwest Ohio," Mr. Meier said of his research.

His studies led him to the the Perry Group, a nonprofit organization based in Put-in-Bay, and the works of David Curtis Skaggs, a professor emeritus at Bowling Green State University who has written several books relating to Commodore Perry.

"Those two in particular were very helpful in getting my information and understanding the battle better," Mr. Meier said.

When he takes the role of Commodore Perry for the performance at Owens, the audience can expect a 35-minute discourse from the perspective of Commodore Perry about the Battle of Lake Erie. Mr. Meier will stay in character for a question-and-answer session and then will answer questions out of character.

He has portrayed the naval hero in other communities across Ohio this year. In the show he will wear period clothing designed by Nichole Newman, an adjunct professor in fine and performing arts at Owens.

Mr. Meier's experience with Commodore Perry isn't his first jaunt into history.

In 2001 he created an original monologue on Gen. George Custer and the Civil War, and in 2005 he created a performance based on the life of bank robber John Dillinger.

The free show, "Oliver Hazard Perry: Hero of Lake Erie," is to begin at 7 p.m. in the Studio Theatre at Owens, 30335 Oregon Rd. in Perrysburg Township.

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