COSHOCTON — Ohio Chautauqua, presented by the Ohio Humanities Council, will be in Coshocton, July 23-27, presenting “When Ohio Was the Western Frontier.” Dan Cutler, from Milton, W.Va., will be among the five-person troupe and will portray Iroquois leader Chief John Logan.
Cutler has been a first-person interpreter since 1998. “The histories of the Ohio Valley and the Native Americans who lived and were displaced from there are far more interesting to me than most of the things finding merit in textbooks,” said Cutler. “That’s why I do what I do and my hope is that I might be able to illuminate that history for Chautauqua audiences.”
Cutler has two characters he portrays — Chief Logan and Cornstalk Warrior. “My favorite is whichever one I am performing at the time,” he said. “It is a challenge to keep them different from one another, as they were chiefs from the same era and in many of the same locations, but since they were individuals with different backgrounds, attitudes and personalities it comes easier as research develops them.”
Cutler’s interest has always been focused on a particular era, rather than developing a character to fit the time period of whatever program he’s involved. “It is almost co-incidental that my characters fit the criteria of such a dynamic organization as Ohio Chautauqua,” he said. “Although both Logan and Cornstalk have been popular in Pennsylvania and Kentucky, the bulk of interest in these characters is in West Virginia where I have been a ‘History Alive’ presenter since 2000, and have been honored to be a part of Ohio Chautauqua in 2002, 2003, 2006, 2012 and this year.”
Cutler says that Chief Logan is an interesting balance between “good” and “bad.” “That challenge is to make even the ‘bad’ Logan relative to the audience,” he explained. “Preparation for Ohio Chautauqua involves three parts: 1) research particulars, 2) research incidentals, and 3) develop a ‘script’ which not only reflects the character and times but is interesting enough to keep the audience excited. In the performance and the workshops I endeavor to ‘see the light bulbs come on,’ that the audience might have a better understanding of the real history and pride of their home country.”
“I’m excited to be able to spend a week in Coshocton absorbing local history and traditions which pique my interests in particular,” added Cutler. “This will be my first extended visit to the area.”
Chief John Logan will take the stage under the Ohio Chautauqua tent located at the Coshocton County Fairgrounds, 707 Kenilworth Ave., on Wednesday, July 24, beginning at 7:30 p.m. Prior to his performance, there will be musical entertainment by Michael Searching Bear playing Native American Flute at 6:30 p.m. Admission and parking are free.
Cutler will offer a youth workshop entitled “Adopted by Indians” for youth ages fourth grade and up at the Coshocton Presbyterian Church, 142 N. Fourth Street at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, July 26. His Adult Workshop on “The American Indian Perspective” will take place at 2 p.m. on Thursday, July 25, at Central Ohio Technical College, 200 N. Whitewoman St., Coshocton.
Along with Chief John Logan, the other characters who will take the stage at 7:30 p.m. under the Ohio Chautauqua Tent during the week of July 23-27 are: Jeremy Meier as the Battle of Lake Erie hero Oliver Hazard Perry; 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.
There will also be free daytime workshops led by each of the scholars for both youth and adults. The youth workshops are appropriate for youth ages 10 and older. The youth workshops are hosted by the Coshocton Public Library and will be held at 10:30 a.m. each day from July 23-27 at the Coshocton Presbyterian Church, 142 N. Fourth St., Coshocton. The adult workshops are hosted by Central Ohio Technical College and will take place at 2 p.m. each day at COTC-Coshocton Campus, 200 N. Whitewoman St.