DD1 devastated by getting the only non-speaking part in the Year 6 play

(40 Posts)
Marmitelover55 Tue 18-Jun-13 16:32:56

My DD1 has been looking forward to finding out what part she has in this years Year 6 play, but today found out that she has the only non-speaking part and is very, very upset.

She is quite a quiet and hard working girl, but loves drama and has been in the local drama group's pantomime for the last 4 years.

For the school play, they were allowed to choose whether they wanted to audition for a large, medium or small part, and DD1 chose to audition for a medium/large one and also wanted to audition for singing as well. She never did a singing audition (they seemed to forget about her), but thought her speaking audition went quite well.

Last year when they did Shakespeare in Year 5, she had a small part with 3 lines (she was the Nurse in a scene from Romeo and Juliet and was very good in my totally unbiased opinion) and the class were told that those with smaller parts would get the larger ones in year 6. Unfortunately both of the year 5 teachers have left and it seems that the year 6 teachers weren't aware of this.

I had a quick chat with the other year 6 teacher and she said that they would write in a line for her, but she is very angry/upset and doesn't want to take part in it at all. It is one of the highlights of the year for the children and the next month will be spent on rehearsing. All of the other parts have been allocated.

I am not sure what to do. I have told DD1 that in the big scheme of things it is not very important, but that I understand she is very upset now. Has any one got any advice please?

Gunznroses Tue 18-Jun-13 16:51:00

The kid with no speaking part in our yr6 play got the loudest applause! the boy's body language was excellent! tell her whatever part they give her she should use it to her best advantage.

Many an actor playing a small/cameo role has stolen the show from the leading actor. Good luck!

DeepRedBetty Tue 18-Jun-13 16:53:18

What on earth possessed Y6 teachers to even contemplate having a school play with only one non-speaking part!

Foosyerdoos Tue 18-Jun-13 16:55:35

In my dd's school panto 'the tree' stole the show and got the biggest cheer atbthevend of the show and cheers each time she came on stage.
It's what you do with the part that counts.

Foosyerdoos Tue 18-Jun-13 16:56:46

I can understand why she is upset though.

DavidHarewoodsFloozy Tue 18-Jun-13 17:05:21

She's obviously the best actress, anyone can act with a script!
Tell her it takes real skill to convey a non speaking part.

Marmitelover55 Tue 18-Jun-13 17:20:09

Thank you for your kind comments. She has to mime one line along with 2 others, but they have proper lines too. It seems there are 57 children in the year and 56 speaking parts sad.

I will try to talk to her teacher tomorrow but don't see that it will help much, but got to try.

FadedSapphire Tue 18-Jun-13 17:40:31

Just trying to imagine a play with 56 speaking part- mind boggling!!

Leeds2 Tue 18-Jun-13 17:47:58

I can understand them writing in a non speaking part, if a child was unwilling/unable to speak on stage, but it seems really mean to have singled your daughter out in this way when she was clearly willing and able to take part.

And if they can write in a line now, they should have realised what had happened and done this before the scripts were given out.

I feel really cross on your DD's behaalf.

Mrschocolate Tue 18-Jun-13 18:19:09

That is awful. Something similar happened to me when I was in school. I had to sit and pretend to eat whilst everyone else had a speaking part.
I was encouraged by my dad to act the part for all it was worth. Mad facial expressions and I pretended to fall asleep during someones solo.
I had a massive cheer at the end of it.
But your DD must be so upset. Really hope they make more lines for her.

Marmitelover55 Tue 18-Jun-13 18:20:29

Thank you. She has told me that she feels like a nobody. The script is for a play called "Time Lord", and she is actor 3 in scene 6.

www.stageplays.com/products/time_lord_script/Gawen%20Robinson

I'm probably making too much of it but I do feel disappointed/sad on her behalf.

Marmitelover55 Tue 18-Jun-13 18:25:07

Mrschocolate - thank you she loves this idea and is considering "dying" in her scene grin

thefirstmrsrochester Tue 18-Jun-13 18:32:14

Absolutely what DavidHarewoodsFloozy has said.

Maybe the school allocated some of the larger speaking roles to the more confident (but by no means more talented) children?

Not saying it is right at all <bitter experience of sitting through end of term shows having my hearing assaulted by two very confident and enthusiastic but ultimately tuneless sisters who continued to get the 'leads' right up until they left high school>

Its rubbish of the school to NOT foresee the upset potentially caused by giving just one child out of 57 a non speaking part.

I am sure your DD will shine on the night, cheer as loud as you can for her & be waiting outside the 'stage door' with kisses and thanks for her.

Marmitelover55 Tue 18-Jun-13 18:44:37

Thank you - will be cheering very loudly. She is a lovely/sensible girl and will cope with this I'm sure.

Talkinpeace Tue 18-Jun-13 19:45:24

You need not make a sound to own the stage
www.ebaumsworld.com/video/watch/80564742/

jo164 Tue 18-Jun-13 21:32:33

How insensitive of the school?! Have they split some of the speaking parts up between children? I only ask as the blurb about the play says 27 speaking parts. Not that this helps your daughter, just a query really as perhaps they can split them further if that's what they have already done. I hope you get something sorted out that makes her feel better about it.

monikar Wed 19-Jun-13 09:13:39

It is so upsetting when these things happen and particularly when ot happens at a difficult time when they are getting ready to move onto secondary school.

Just a thought - could you suggest to DD and the teacher that DD makes up her own line that would be incorporated into her piece? In this way it is a new approach to the problem rather than the teacher 'finding' her a line because you have complained. Your DD might feel happier that she has had some control over it in this way.

Really hope you can get it sorted, I feel for your DD.

DeWe Wed 19-Jun-13 09:40:36

I would suspect that they had a list of parts and it passed them by that one part didn't have any lines. Thoughtless, and I would point it out so they can avoid doing that again. They can't really take another's lines away, think of the potential upset there-but I think the idea of her thinking her own lines up is a good one. Would the school work with that?

Is it perhaps a large part that doesn't have any speaking lines? I ask as my dd2 said that she was upset because she didn't have any speaking lines. Chatting to the teacher (about an unrelated matter) I found that she had what was actually the biggest part-she was the only one on stage almost throughout, a lot of mime and a solo shock
But they'd just read the script through with them, and all dd had noticed was that she didn't say anything. Once they started rehearsing she couldn't believe how much she had to do, but at the read through stage she had nothing.

and the class were told that those with smaller parts would get the larger ones in year 6. Did they actually say this, or perhaps was it more along the lines of "those with smaller parts will have the oportunity for auditioning for bigger parts next year"
Because that happened to dd1 in year 6. They auditioned for the Christmas show and some of those who got smaller/chorus parts got upset because they thought it was a trial for the leavers' play and they wouldn't get parts in that either. They told them "We will be auditioning for the leavers' play separately, you may have a small part now, but get a big one in the leavers' play or the other way round." I heard them say it.
Unfortunately one of dd1's friends interpretted this as "the parts will be reversed smallest to biggest", so went home cock a hoop and told her dm that she would have one of the top parts next time. When she didn't, dm rushed into school saying that it had been promised her.

If they did say that, then I think it was misguided. Unless they deliberately picked those in year 5 to be those they thought were less likely to be given big parts the next year, then it seems silly to expect the year 6 teachers to do that. And it wouldn't be the year 5 teachers' decision, it would have to be joint with the year 6 teachers.

DowntonTrout Wed 19-Jun-13 09:58:04

This sort of happened to my DD in the Christmas Play last year. Small school. Only 11 in the year. Only 5 girls.

All the other 4 got big parts that ran through out the play. DD got one scene. Not a problem you might think but DD had already won a place at theatre school in London and one of the other girls had selective mutism and could not speak louder than a whisper ( it was torture for her, poor girl.)

DD was upset for about 2 days and i just shrugged and said thems the breaks, and told her to toughen up, then she just got on with it. After the play a number of other parents approached us asking why "the best actress in the school" had had such a smAll part. Cue more shrugging and smiling from me. It was all just politics and we were leaving, so I know why they did it. But that's not the case with you.

I do think that out of 57 children, if 56 have lines and one doesn't, it is a huge oversight and very mean.

Lancelottie Wed 19-Jun-13 10:15:47

DD has just been through this! Gutting for them at the time, isn't it? Every other girl in her year got not just a named part, but a singing solo, even if just a line. DD got... narrator. As she does every bloody time 'because she has a nice clear voice' (i.e. is very loud).

Have to say that in my most unbiased view she somewhat stole the show, simply by rolling her eyes knowingly at the audience during the love scenes.

MNEdBlackpoolWiganandSalford Wed 19-Jun-13 10:32:59

I have this coming, dd is very quiet and has sen but is the best reader and always gets blooming narrater or something with no words. Last year she was a cat that miaowed once.

But she does drama out of school so I do not worry.

JuliaScurr Wed 19-Jun-13 10:33:25

ooh, that's annoying and unnecessary
why do this to kids? It is frequently found that sundry trees, many camels and Star Wars/Disney characters were important elements in the Nativity - though Biblical scholars only discovered this recently. Because actually, that IS the Christian message smile
Same applies to all school productions
OBVIOUSLY

fiddlyfoodlebird Wed 19-Jun-13 12:17:21

Op , I feel your pain and 'twas ever thus.

My DS is suffering the same fate. In a class context, he's a confident boy but can come across as quiet and studious, so gets overlooked for the plays and performances. He's got to sit through 7/8ths of the badly written, end of year performance for Yrs 4 - 6 until he has 1 line. All the usual "lovey dahhhhling" kids have been given the meaty roles, no-one else ever gets a look-in. He gets annoyed that the "lovey-types" haven't bothered to learn their lines. We've told him to concentrate on the amazing opportunities he's going to get to wow them in his new school, when it comes to auditions. We've also explained that whilst he's sitting there, it's an opportunity to study various approaches and types of "acting" and "over-acting". grin

Marmitelover55 Wed 19-Jun-13 13:05:06

Hello - I went into school today and first bumped into the head who took me to see her class teacher. He has been away for a few days, but basically I said how disappointed she is and how it will be a massive dent to her confidence. I'm afraid I was in tears by this stage.

He said that there has been a mistake and he will do his best to sort it out. He told me that they had already written some extra scenes, as there weren't enough roles. He said that it is very unusual for every child who has been allocated a part to actually end up doing it, so there may be an opportunity to change. He said that he hoped they could do better than just give her one line...

Then he brought DD1 in to appologise. He is not sure what they will do but will let me know.

On the way out I bumped into the head who invited me into her office for a coffee and a chat. She was lovely and said she will keep an eye on things, so I am hopeful that things will be resolved some how. She gave me a hug and a kiss and told me that she realised it must be important, as I have never been into her office before.

Thanks everyone - fingers crossed things will be sorted somehow.

FadedSapphire Wed 19-Jun-13 13:18:18

Head and teacher sound lovely.
Glad things getting sorted.

Marmitelover55 Wed 19-Jun-13 16:26:15

DD1 much happier this afternoon - when they typed up the script, they had missed out her two lines - so this has been corrected. She has also been made co-director as well. Fingers crossed that she may still get a bigger role though. Her teacher ha been lovely to her smile.

Allalonenow Wed 19-Jun-13 16:45:02

Glad it went well today, and now looks more hopeful for a decent role for your daughter. The smallest role can often steal the scene, and good stage business will enhance the character.

BooksandaCuppa Wed 19-Jun-13 18:58:14

OP and to anyone else reading this thread:

What your Head said to you about taking this seriously because you have never been in to speak to her before is a really, really important point - and one I wish more people could grasp.

OK, admittedly this might be more relevant to my situation as ds has SEN and was especially tricky to manage in earlier years at school, but I have always taken the view that one should support your child's school as much as possible, never moan over silly things and always pick your battles (as in life generally). Then, when you really do have a concern, people (teachers and Heads) will usually take you seriously.

I was the most supportive, flexible and helpful parent my son's school could have wanted grin - and the moment I had a proper issue (middle of year 5), the Head bent over backwards to resolve it, promptly and sensitively.

Well done - and I bet dd will be a star:-)

DeWe Wed 19-Jun-13 19:22:12

All resolved well! Glad she's happy.

lougle Wed 19-Jun-13 19:38:10

The play you linked to has 27 speaking roles, so they must have added 30 parts shock

MidniteScribbler Thu 20-Jun-13 09:25:13

Not every student gets to play the lead, and in school plays, the "best" may not be the right choice for an educational experience, especially in primary school. It's a school play, not the west end. Schools generally keep track of who has done which roles in previous years, and try to give all students different opportunities throughout their schooling. We also know which kids are doing which activities outside of school, and that can play a role in ourdecision making.

We have one child in our school who will not be given a lead role, because she performs four nights per week in a major commercial musical and has done a workshop in New York. She doesn't need the experience of playing the lead in a school play. There are other students who do. But it doesn't stop her mother up at the school every time ranting and raving that she's not the lead. She has had some large roles, just not the lead, and she gets to perform a solo at the Christmas concert (because she truly does have incredible talent), but we have to balance the needs of ALL students.

You can never please everyone.

fiddlyfoodlebird Thu 20-Jun-13 11:08:26

Whilst booksandacuppa may be partially right in the approach that you should choose your battles and not moan about "silly things". Some schools take a different approach and request that parents let them know about "silly things". For example, at DS' new pupil and parent night for his secondary school last week, the HT, Head and Deputy Head of Year impressed upon parents most emphatically, that no matter how trivial it seems, parents must let them know about any worries a YR7 pupil has. They want to avoid parents brushing things under the carpet and hoping they'll go away or get better. They have the philosophy that not all "trivial" matters are actually trivial and they want to nip things in the bud before they become huge issues.

It was refreshing not to be made to feel that we were going to being patted on the head if we we were good boys who never spoke to the head about our DC's worries and toed the line.

Marmitelover55 Thu 27-Jun-13 16:06:28

Another update - just thought I'd let you know that DD1 now has quite a big part as the boy playing "Raptor" has decided he wants a small part after all. She now has 35 lines, is in 3 scenes and has a solo rap to perform grin Thanks for all of your support and suggestions.

Well I'm pleased that she has been promoted. Well done her.

Slightly disagree with Midnite scribbler & know where Downton is coming from in that my ds who has had individual (so not chorus) parts in touring west end productions, (so does have some ability), doesn't understand why he's been given a smaller part than everyone else in his end of year play. Acting and singing is his thing - if he was a country sports or national team player I doubt the school would hesitate to wheel him out for competitions. It helps (me) that the part is one that suits him character wise so I have been able to focus on that but he comes home from each rehearsal in right strop and I can sort of understand why as he's just sat around a lot of the time. The other kids who have been given the bigger parts shine at other stuff that he doesn't - and they don't get ousted from the things they shine at in the name of fairness. But that seems to be the way of drama in schools. TBH given the foul mood he keeps coming home in I'll be pleased when the bloody thing is over.

I don't tell him I think it's possibly unfair btw (will judge whether it was when I see it - he may be over exaggerating) - I tell him to get on with it, and concentrate on doing his bit well, but if he's right then yes I think it's a bit unfair. We'll see.

Anyway I am pleased your dd is happier. It's such a shame if schools put kids off drama through not recognising when someone is quietly keen iykwim (my ds actually falls into that category as well, although I'm not sure he's exactly hard working).

Ponders Thu 27-Jun-13 19:34:59

I don't tell him I think it's possibly unfair btw

jimjams, you really are saintly grin

Oh honestly he generates enough drama himself grin if he actually knew I agreed with him we'd have an Oscar winning performance going on grin

He has to suck it up. And he may be being unfair as I can see why he suits the part- I'll judge after the play. If anyone can think of any suggestions/strategies for him (and any of the others on the thread) stuck watching everyone else rehearse please share. If I hear how boring it is one more time I shall brain him!

Lancelottie Thu 27-Jun-13 20:01:18

Well, we've told DS that if he really wants to be an actor (sigh) he'd better get good at doing very small parts cheerfully and well, or he'll be very unemployed.

He's not West End standard though, so this may not work on your DS!

Oh I think it is excellent advice Lancelottie! And I have pointed that out to him. He'll learn. Although I think he'd accept it more in a professional production iykwim. I can see his point thought as he has spent the last 7 years being bumped off sports teams in favour of those who are better than him - sometimes even when he has turned up for a trial and someone better hasn't bothered but has changed their mind later, so he's been shoved into reserve while they've been given his place. And he loves sport (just isn't very good) so he does mind when that happens iykwim. He'll live, and I'm sure it's a good lesson, but just picking up on midnitescribblers post really.

Ponders Thu 27-Jun-13 20:23:50

having had kids with a gift for eg reading, who loved sport, but were total klutzes so never lauded the way the kids who had a gift for sport were, I sympathise completely grin

I never could get my head around the different attitudes at school towards the different gifts...

It's odd isn't it? I actually don't think that ds2 will end up on the stage as an adult (my guess is he'll end up in IT grin ) so even the professional stuff he does is for fun, and it seems a shame he doesn't get to have his turn at school because it's not seen as fair.

I was more annoyed about having his sports team place taken away from him in favour of someone who hadn't done the trials because he was really upset about that, but that again does highlight the difference.

I do always outwardly support the school (even in that I tried to find something fair about it, might have struggled, can't remember what I said) but blimey they don't always make it easy grin

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