As a child, I loved school plays and it led me to a career in acting. I still love doing professional pantomime and the odd bit of TV work (I’m available for booking commercials and corporate gigs !!)
As a parent, I love them and I hate them! I don’t like the modern nature of the all-inclusive play with your child getting the important role of third palm tree, Pirate No 6 or the elusive naan bread!
It means everyone gets a bit part, but it also means some parent installing the virtues of the fifth strawberry being key to the fruit bowl scene!! Or the fact it is now the subject of most parental conversations, so what part your child has in the …” Oh fifth strawberry that’s nice Neville is the third grape!” Parts should be auditions for not awarded on an everyone needs a line basis …. Have a chorus ….it has worked since the Ancient Greeks!
School teachers, specialist in PE or design or pre-school – become directors and producers and adopt a “Hollywood awaits” mentality, rehearsal schedules songs and lines to learn. As parents we are now the assistant director trying to ensure our child’s 5 words are the best 5 words in the play. The school run become rehearsal time, with songs sung to death and Radio 1,2 and 4 ( please delete according to your musical tastes) have never been missed so much!
Now the school play is all part of school life but with schools having plays for year 1 & 2 and 3 & 4 some schools put on more plays than a repertory theatre! The proud parent and the nervous child on performance night and the wonderful school video which costs £ 10 for the all of 5 secs of your out of focus child. The DVD to be stored away and never watched but poised to be shown to their prospective partners in years to come. The phone pictures and video clips of performance to be shown to every relative friend and co-worker.
My sons school are doing a version of Alice in Wonderland, and after going through all the parts he may audition for and want, he settled on was he wanted something quirky, a main role but one he can enjoy and have fun with … so move over Johnny Deep…… no third playing card …. we have a term of becoming and learning the role of ……The Mad Hatter !!!! …. As a non resident parent I will miss some of the pleasures of reading other parts and hearing the songs as they are leaned. But I will be able to help him polish his acting skills and I am sure if I bump into you post show I will have a phone full of video clip and picture.