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Bicentennial celebration continues with Ohio University debut of 'Free Man of Color'

ATHENS, Ohio (Feb. 25, 2004) -- Ohio University playwright Charles Smith's new Bicentennial play, "Free Man of Color" plays in Athens March 11-13. The play open each night at 8 p.m. in Ohio University's Elizabeth Evans Baker Theater in Kantner Hall.

Anthony Fleming III, left as Templeton, and playwright Charles SmithThe two-act play examines the life of John Newton Templeton, who became Ohio University's first African-American graduate in 1828 and the fourth African-American graduate in the U.S.

A freed slave, Templeton developed a close and unique relationship with Ohio University President Robert Wilson and his wife, Jane. The Wilsons, devout Presbyterians, were highly supportive of the United States' use of Liberia as a colony for freed slaves. During the play, Templeton ponders the question of why Wilson recruited him to Ohio University and asks himself whether a freed slave is really free?

Chicago veteran actor and College of Wooster graduate Gary Houston plays Robert Wilson, Ohio University Assistant Professor of Theater Shelley Delaney is Jane Wilson and talented newcomer Anthony Fleming III portrays John Newton Templeton. Cleveland native Andrea Dymond will direct the play.

Tickets are $12 for students and senior citizens and $15 for adults. To order tickets or for more information, call the College of Fine Arts box office at (740) 593-4800.

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Media Contact: George Mauzy, mauzy@ohio.edu or (740) 597-1794

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