‘Fortunate Victory’ plays during Tall Ships festival

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By LAUREN SOVISKY
staff writer

Gannon University’s Schuster Theater and the Erie Playhouse will join together to celebrate the Tall Ships arrivals with a theatrical performance.
“Fortunate Victory,” written by Alex Clemente, opens this weekend for a historic performance to remind Erie why our own U.S. Brig Niagara exists.
The current Brig Niagara is a replica of the original ship that assisted in the defeat of British troops on Lake Erie.
The original ship was built during the War of 1812, and housed 155 men who manned sails, guns and carronades for battle.
Under the command of Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry, the U.S. Brig Niagara, along with eight other ships, regained control of Lake Erie from Great Britain, becoming one of the biggest naval battles during the war and allowing American troops to regain control of Detroit and boost troop and nation moral.
“Fortunate Victory” is the story of not just the U.S. Brig Niagara, but the men aboard who contributed in a battle that helped earn America’s freedom from Great Britain.
This story includes the lives of Perry; American lake mariner Daniel Dobbins, who recommended Presque Isle as Lake Erie Naval Base; Lt. Jesse Elliot, who commanded the U.S. Brig Niagara; Commodore Isaac Chauncy; and other men and women in 19th century Erie.
The story of “Fortunate Victory” is a 45-minute play focused around historical records, including fictional dialogue, an animated battle sequence, traditional music and period time costumes.
Junior theatre and communication arts major Tom Barton plays Pvt. Bird, a drunken rebel fighting under Perry’s command.
“Folks can expect to see behind the scenes of Lake Erie’s Battle,” he said. “There’s drama, romance, intrigue and even a little silly humor.”
“Fortunate Victory” opens with 10 performances starting Friday.
Admission is $5 and all proceeds will support the Schuster Theatre’s participation in the August 2017 International Collegiate Theatre Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland.

LAUREN SOVISKY
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