SMU alumnus Jack “Mr. Fry” Freiberger delivered a powerful performance this weekend with the four-day run of his one-man show “They Call Me Mister Fry” at the Eisemann Center in Richardson, Texas.
Fry, a 1986 graduate of Meadows, is celebrating his 10th anniversary of teaching fifth grade in South Central Los Angeles this year.
The show, which chronicles Fry’s first year at the “Academy” school, takes 80 minutes and turns them into an emotional, hilarious slog through the bureaucracy of public education and the power of a good teacher.
Fry takes an interactive approach to the performance, enlisting audience members to hold certain props and calling on them by name. The back and forth kept the audience engaged and brought them into the story.
Through two of his students – “Anthony” and “Jasmine” – Fry explores loss and the faults of the school system with both humor and tragedy. The play is a one-man show, meaning Fry not only plays himself, but also all of the 10- and 11-year-olds in his class as well as adults.
Fry describes the difficulty of being constantly watched by the “No Child Left Behind” stormtroopers who wanted to make sure every teacher followed the exact same lesson plan to the T.
There were moments during the show that brought audience members to tears, but many more that made them cackle with laughter, and after the performance Mr. Fry stood outside the auditorium and greeted anyone that wanted to talk.
Even after all the awards, accolades and international tours, Freiberger is still a teacher, both in spirit and by trade.
They call him Mr. Fry, after all.