Fishers High School theater teacher Jon Colby informed his students in November 2018 this would be his final school year.
Colby, a veteran of improv, is leaving after seven years to start a career as a motivational speaker.
Before leaving, he wanted to change the final play he was directing to “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten,” based on books of essays by Robert Fulghum. The performances are 7 p.m. May 9-10 and 11 a.m. May 11.
“I really love the messages behind it,” Colby said. “The kids were confused at first. But at the read-through, they were saying, ‘It’s funny and it’s deep and it’s sweet.’ They had a lot of emotional connection to it. I was worried they were thinking it was cheesy, but they really seem to like it.”
Colby, who also teaches speech, said the story is a mixture of funny and serious moments.
“What is really cool is, we are using the band and orchestra to give us some live music in a couple of parts,” Colby said.
There are 23 cast members.
“We have a lot of kids that have never done a straight play before and really enjoyed that experience,” Colby said. “They’ve never done anything but musical theater, but now they are buying into straight plays, too.”
Senior Lexi Esterle performs in three scenes, as a narrator, singer and Ed.
“I would say all of us as individuals identify with different parts of this show,” Esterle said.
Esterle said she has been acting in musicals and straight plays most of her life.
“I’ve been in pretty much every show at Fishers from freshman year on,” she said. “It’s part of why I like this show because we have some times that we incorporate music, and one of the songs is set to music. I think it really brings together all of those elements, and with some of the themes we are able to delve deeper than some musicals are able to do. I’ve done a lot of different shows, but this brings out the best of all forms of theater.”
Esterle plans to major in telecommunications at Ball State University.
“It’s a field Mr. Colby actually introduced to me,” she said. “So, in a lot of ways, he’s shaped my life as a teacher. I met him through theater, and I’ve learned so many things from him through theater. That shows when he’s in the last scene and he plays Alexander Papaderos and he talks about what the meaning of life is. It’s very much reflective of how he teaches us and how he’s taught all of us for the last four years. So, him being in the last scene with us, it’s the end of our time in high school, so it’s a good way to wrap it up.”
Colby is performing in an FHS show for the first time.
“I literally have the last line of the show,” he said.
Junior Victor Laughner said he was skeptical about the play before the cast did a read-through.
“I realize it has a lot of good messages and themes throughout the whole thing,” he said. “I feel a lot of people are going to relate to it and find it interesting. I think it will be a good note to end on Mr. Colby.”
FHS English teacher Jordan Nel joined the performing arts department for assist with the production
“The title is kindergarten, but there are themes that pass through teenagers and adulthood,” Nel said. “Each student plays a variety of characters and it speaks to so many situations that are funny and also touching. Mr. Colby decided to do this show for its enduring message and because the thread that carries through the entire show of thinking of the bigger things in life, relationships and all the important things we learn when we are really young, but they are still applicable.”
Tickets are $7 to $10 for adults and $5 to $7 for students and senior citizens. For tickets, visit onthestage.com/show/fishers-high-school/all-i-really-need-to-know-i-learned-in-kindergarten-8317/.