The Last Curtain Call

Fountain performs in last show before retiring


Savannah Ostler, Staff Reporter

After being an educator for 40 years, Jim Fountain, Theatre and Film Study teacher, has decided to make his last curtain call. Fountain appeared as the grandpa, Martin Vanderhof, in the most recent and his last play at Perry, “You Can’t Take it With You.”

Although Fountain appeared and acted in this play, he does not usually act in his productions, he usually spends most of his time backstage and directing. “Well typically I’m the director… but I am also the artistic vision,” Fountain explained.

“He has a very specific vision when he does a show and he [is] good at conveying that vision to the actors,” commented junior Rachael Sharp, an actress who has worked extensively with Fountain.

Although he is the director, he also mentors the actors with their characters to meet his precise vision. “Fountain helps actors gain insight on their characters that you couldn’t see before. Any of his actors will all tell you the same thing: Fountain has changed their lives and improved their acting for the better,” expounded Sharp.

But since Fountain has been in the theatre world for 40 years, “he has a lot of expertise in theatre and he will be hard to replace… But we’ll find somebody, [though] I don’t know if we’ll find somebody with his expertise and experience,” Principal Dan Serrano stated.

Backstage, Saturday night, in theatre’s traditional group circle before going on stage, Fountain made a final speech to his students and fellow cast members. He quoted Pierre Teilhard de Chardin and told them, “‘Someday after we have mastered the waves, the winds, the tides, and gravity, we will harness for God the energies of love and then, for the second time in the history of the world, mankind will have discovered fire.’” Fountain added, “So I told my cast, my wish for them, my wish for my legacy is for them to go out and discover fire.”

Fountain makes it very clear that his calling in life was to be a teacher, and it’s not only been his life that has been changed from his teaching career. Fountain declared, “I carry a piece of every student I have [ever had] with me…I just love them.” He added, “You’ve just got to love your students… Sometimes you love them in spite of themselves instead of because of themselves. So I think that’s what’s made a difference for me. I do care. Very much.”

His students recognize and feed off of his clear and distinct love for them. “He’s…one of the most amazing actors, directors, and people I know,” Sharp continued. “He’s basically the grandpa of the theatre program at Perry, everybody knows and loves Mr. Fountain.”