Casting a school production. Do you 'typecast', or not?

(18 Posts)
RoooneyMara Thu 04-Jul-13 21:25:14

I'm not even sure that's the correct term for it.

What I mean is, say there is a fat character in the play (I mean obviously - with 'fat' in their name) - do you cast the most overweight child as that part, or would you think it very inappropriate?

I feel a bit uncomfortable about it tbh.

I wonder how far it should go, really - you always get blonde angels in the nativity but casting a child on the basis of their size seems wrong.

Periwinkle007 Thu 04-Jul-13 21:32:51

I would find it inappropriate. quite seriously inappropriate actually

Periwinkle007 Thu 04-Jul-13 21:33:56

If it was done for an ethnic role then it would be seen as racist, a fat role should be no different I don't think. My kids aren't blonde, perhaps that is why they didn't get to be angels...

RoooneyMara Thu 04-Jul-13 21:38:22

Yes this is it. I wondered if I ought to say something but it is not my child, and according to mine, the overweight child seems happy to play the part.

I just heard about it and thought hmm

RoooneyMara Thu 04-Jul-13 21:39:34

I despair at this school sometimes

cece Thu 04-Jul-13 21:40:49

Casting a school play is always tricky. It depends if the child in question can act the role or not really? If they are good and capable then I would assume they were cast on merit.

Last year we had a black 'Tom Jones' and a blonde 'Will.i.am'

KingscoteStaff Thu 04-Jul-13 21:42:20

We did Bugsy Malone last year and yes, Fat Sam was on the large side (he was a front row in our local rugby club's Under 11 team!)

He was also hysterically funny, a superb singer and a very talented dancer.

I saw him last week and he is currently playing a main part in his Year 7 show. Pumba in Lion King......

LesAnimaux Thu 04-Jul-13 21:44:38

I've heard about this happening recently.

I've spoken to the mother of the large child who isn't happy, but would rather her DS had the fat part, than no part, so has kept quiet about it.

Personally I wouldn't have done it. It seems like the school is setting the child up to be called names.

I wouldn't cast blond girls as angels either. Too predictable.

RoooneyMara Thu 04-Jul-13 21:56:59

yes, he could very well have been cast on merit but it seemed a bit odd and I wasn't entirely sure on the ethics of it.

I hope he is really good and blows them away - he could do with some confidence boosting.

Periwinkle007 Thu 04-Jul-13 22:03:18

well if he is happy then I suppose it doesn't matter and yes he might well have been cast purely on merit. It puts teachers in a difficult position I suppose because if they try too hard NOT to typecast then they could end up not casting the best person but it sounds a bit borderline to me from what you have said

hels71 Thu 04-Jul-13 22:35:29

When we did Bugsy Malone our Fat Sam was certainly a larger child. She auditioned for the part. It was the one part she wanted, she was by far and away the best of those who auditioned and she was amazing in the part. Some other staff in the school questioned the casting.....but if she had not been given it that would have been unfair considering now good she was.
I think it all depends whether the child in question wanted the part, is happy in the part and the best child for the part...
(ANd by the way, we never think about casting all the blond children as angels.....!)

MidniteScribbler Thu 04-Jul-13 23:02:41

Well I probably wouldn't choose a play that had a character with "Fat" in the name in the first place. There's millions to choose from, no need to choose that particular play.

But at our school, children are allowed to write down 2-4 parts they would like to have, in order of preference, which we then work through. So in 99% of cases, that child would have auditioned for the role and wanted it.

BackforGood Thu 04-Jul-13 23:34:15

I think it depends on the child, and the role, and the importance to the role of the size.
When he was in about Yr8, my ds was acting with a theatre company and played an adult, looking back on how he'd been bullied at school for being fat - they told him about the role before asking him to do it (he was never enormous, but had certainly started puberty by growing outwards rather than upwards so was a bit on the podgy side). He was absolutely brilliant she says modestly. He had this lengthy monologue near the end of the play, and there wasn't a dry eye in the house.
In his mind, he was "just" acting a part. For the audience, it did help the scenes seem true because he wasn't a skinny rake. So, for him, it was fine, and not an 'uncomfortable situation' at all.

In my dd2's Yr6 play coming up, they've gone for the 'opposite' look, so the tiniest child is playing the 'Big Daddy' type role, and the biggest lad is playing a Tom Thumb type role (again, all discussed with them first) - is that any better for you ?

Happymum22 Fri 05-Jul-13 00:02:46

I went to DDs secondary school play the other night. It is very white middle class area. The one slightly mixed race girl was cast as the supposedly indian orphan. It was a bit odd and did make me wonder what the girl thought of her role.
DD said this girl swapped parts after a few rehearsals due to someone dropping out, so she wasn't purposely cast in that position, it was just a coincidence.

insanityscratching Fri 05-Jul-13 09:31:23

Dd's school tend to do the opposite for an added laugh I think. Dd played the strongman, she is the smallest in the school, she's also weedy and very girly. The props really worked because she did struggle with the dumb bells and the smashing rocks even if they were made of polystyrene and papier mache. I think dd would have felt self conscious in a role that focused on her being small though.

EvilTwins Fri 05-Jul-13 16:17:15

Depends on the play, the age of the kids & the general mood/atmosphere in the school really. We did Bugsy Malone a few yrs ago (secondary) and Fat Sam wasn't fat- we gave it to the boy who auditioned most appropriately for the role. All of Dandy Dan's gang were girls- on purpose. When we did Hairspray, though, we had to cast black DC as Seaweed & his mother as that was one if the points of the play. The girl who was Tracy wore padding.

xylem8 Fri 05-Jul-13 22:10:01

we have had boy angels, black angels , blond angels even ginger angels

MiaowTheCat Sat 06-Jul-13 09:02:51

I can honestly say I've never ever considered hair colour (or donations to the PTA btw) when deciding who's an angel, Mary or the second donkey on the right for nativity plays. Usually it's just based on who's going to learn the lines and show up for all performances, and with narrator type parts - who's going to be audible.

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