The joy of Christmas (plays)

(63 Posts)
ParkerTheThief Thu 14-Nov-13 17:57:33

Ahhh, that happy moment. Casting the Christmas play.

I have obviously allowed the rush of power go to my head grin

So far I have been accused of

Choosing a play that a pupil didn't want to do on purpose aren't I lucky to be able to read minds.

Allowing a pupil to audition for a part but not giving it to her (epic fail on the understanding of audition)

Saying that if a pupil refused to sing a solo during the audition process that it was fine, but obviously as the part required him to sing a solo he wouldn't be able to do it and would need to take on a different role.

As I'm typing I've just realised the son of a member of the Gov Body has been given a good part! The ultimate teacher sin

Good job I love doing the whole Christmas thing

Give all the moaners really difficult costumes to make and give them 24 hour's notice. wink

ParkerTheThief Thu 14-Nov-13 18:07:26

Ahhh, we provide all the costumes from school. If we don't have them we make them or buy them.

ParkerTheThief Thu 14-Nov-13 18:09:04

It's quite sad really, i love organising and rehearsing with my class but reactions like this suck the joy out of the whole process.

Really Parker that is most unusual and very parent friendly.

I remember being given 24 hours to dress DS2 as a mince pie. angry

I really can't imagine what sort of parent you would have to be to question the teacher about the casting for a Primary school play.

ParkerTheThief Thu 14-Nov-13 18:13:52

We always have done - I remember the year I sat and sewed cracker costumes.
If we have parents who want to help that's great, but it is purely voluntary and we give loads of notice.

Mine obviously don't know how lucky they are grin

The next moaner in-you tell them that Parker.

NewNameforNewTerm Thu 14-Nov-13 18:41:24

We also provide almost all the costumes. Things we ask for are "dark trousers", "pale teeshirt, shirt or jumper", so really basic items to go under the costumes I've made over the years.

Every year I get parents moaning that their child can't keep the costume. Err, no, it is mine (not school's) and it is part of a set (e.g. 10 matching angels, a set of Russian Babushka dancers). I can't remake every year as it would cost me a fortune and huge amount of time.

I agree Parker, I love the Christmas play, but I'm sick of the parent moans already. Child A doesn't want lines, doesn't want to dance, but must have a big part. Child B wants to dance, but only with her friend, who is actually a wise man, so not in the angels' dance. Child C has already got the X costume so has to have the part.

I keep reminding myself of why I'm doing it and the fact that I can't keep everyone happy (unless I have 15 Marys).

I am really shocked. My two are 11 and 14 so it's been a while but I had no idea. If I had known I would have been in the school having a moan. grin

What is wrong with some parents?

givemeaclue Thu 14-Nov-13 18:45:17

Omg no moaning at our school, we take what we get and are eternally grateful not to have to provide costumes!

ParkerTheThief Thu 14-Nov-13 19:11:10

Glad it's not just my school.

I have to admit that as a hardened long time teacher I do actually laugh about it, but years ago when I was young and naive it used to really upset me.

I even pointed out to the class precasting that obviously some of them were going to be disappointed but everyone would have a role. The pupils were fine and understood ...just not the parents.

I am still waiting for someone to realise one of my lead characters has a GB mum.
Shame that he can sing, act and learn his lines. I'll still be showing favouritism by casting him.

Periwinkle007 Thu 14-Nov-13 19:29:28

my daughter has just had a right strop because she thinks her role is meaningless. I tried to explain that there are a lot of kids in the play so there are a limited number of roles (secretly thinking 'great I only have to help her learn 10 words') but because she doesn't have a named part she thinks she is unimportant and has informed me she 'will do it very badly' so that she doesn't have to do it next year.

oh I pity her poor teacher...

thegreylady Thu 14-Nov-13 19:33:50

My dgs is complaining because he can't be a giraffe [there is no giraffe in the play].He is a 'child in pyjamas' which he feels is a bit odd because ,'that isn't a play that's just me at bedtime.'

ParkerTheThief Thu 14-Nov-13 19:39:45

At least child in pyjamas means a nice easy costume!

Periwinkle007 Thu 14-Nov-13 19:41:09

yes see the children don't think how happy the parents are to realise they have no lines/easy outfit/no stress etc.

Galena Thu 14-Nov-13 20:09:02

I don't know if DD is doing anything and if so, what... Maybe I should ask.

beanandspud Thu 14-Nov-13 20:15:03

When I've got a few minutes to spare I am going to write a primary school Christmas play:

It will have:

6 Marys
6 Josephs
2 Innkeepers (one male, one female)
4 Sheep (all with a solo to sing)
4 Donkeys (major speaking parts)
4 Disney princesses
4 Buzz Lightyears (or similar superheroes)

Everyone happy. Job done. grin

Galena Thu 14-Nov-13 20:16:59

And market it with a complete set of costumes, beanandspud ?

Periwinkle007 Thu 14-Nov-13 20:39:21

you forgot the giraffe for thegreylady's dgs beanandspud

Fuzzymum1 Thu 14-Nov-13 20:41:54

My son stands no chance of a good part - I'm a TA and a Governor at school, and shock horror I volunteer there too.

Fuzzymum1 Thu 14-Nov-13 20:45:15

(that was tongue in cheek by the way - I'm not bothered who gets what part just happy I don't have to make a costume as school provide them!)

thegreylady Thu 14-Nov-13 22:16:54

Thanks Periwinkle aslong as it has a giraffe I'll sell tickets smile

ParkerTheThief Thu 14-Nov-13 22:46:56

Sell tickets... that's contentious smile

beanandspud Thu 14-Nov-13 23:09:18

Ok, I've made a few amendments...

6 Marys
6 Josephs
2 Innkeepers (one male, one female)
4 Sheep (all with a solo to sing)
4 Donkeys (major speaking parts)
4 Disney princesses
4 Buzz Lightyears (or similar superheroes)
1 giraffe

All costumes provided unless parents particularly want to provide an outfit.

All parts carefully measured to ensure that they have exactly the same number of lines and time on stage.

Separate (sound-proofed) areas for different members of the audience - those with younger children, those without, working parents wishing to make phonecalls/take messages...)

All seats however to be in the centre of the front row.

simpson Thu 14-Nov-13 23:36:53

DD does not know what role she has yet (yr1) I am waiting to be told the night before and that I have to come up with some obscure costume.

They have been practising the songs though so the build up is beginning.

She had quite a big role last year so she will not be happy if it is not the same this year (another one who pities her teacher!)

simpson Thu 14-Nov-13 23:39:30

Forgot to say, DD really wants to be a pig grin

(Disclaimer: she went to a petting farm recently and her granny bought her some pink fluffy pig ears and she wants to wear them, either that or a leopard for some reason!)

NeverKnowinglyUnderstood Thu 14-Nov-13 23:41:04

DS1's last year with nativity play and he is a narrator, he has never had a part because he is good at reading..
I feel sad that he can't be a sheep or a donkey or something we can take photo's of for when he is older!!

Ilovemyrabbits Thu 14-Nov-13 23:41:15

My dd is 12. She still bridles at the injustice of the same people being cast over and over and over again during the years of primary school plays. Strangely enough, they're the same people who are doing the school plays in her secondary school too! I have explained to her that it might have something to do with the fact that those people actually go to acting school outside of ordinary school and have worked hard to get to the stage they are at. It hasn't sunk in yet. I think she must enjoy the drama of it, which is kind of ironic smile

beanandspud Thu 14-Nov-13 23:43:28

Don't worry Simpson I can easily add a pig - it will work quite well and complement the giraffe grin

Maryz Thu 14-Nov-13 23:44:13

I remember ds2 getting a part (narrator I think) once, and another parent saying to me very huffily "you do realise he's only been given it because he's the loudest, and to keep him out of trouble".

I laughed grin

dd was a donkey once. And then one of the people who held up a word. And then a background.

ds1 was easy though. He simply refused point blank to take part at all. He was the only child (out of 240) in his school to NOT take part in the school concert, ever. Now if only you had 220 of him, you would be fine.

I wouldn't worry too much. You will be wrong whatever you do, so just do what you want [comforting]

RegularVoltaire Thu 14-Nov-13 23:48:02

My dd is a sheep this year! She's made up and so am I! Last year she was a hen ...much trickier!

She was a little disappointed at first because a child in her class that shares her name has been cast as Mary, and for a fleeting moment she thought it was her. We've chatted and agreed that a sheep is much more fun grin

BrawToken Thu 14-Nov-13 23:53:06

When my wee one was 3 I was interrogated by another mother about why she got the lead role of Oopsy Daisy Angel in the pre school nativity.

Some parents are bloody nuts and I have a well honed radar now (eldest is 16) so give those ones an extremely wide berth.

I am delighted now she is in Primary she is an angel again! My favourite discussion about the Christmas play was yesterday when my DD who is now 5 said about her wee pal, she got the most special part... the goalkeeper smile I have no idea if the part is goalkeeper or innkeeper but I really hope it is the former! I was grin and can't wait to give thanks to all the staff for not making it all about Mary!

NynaevesSister Fri 15-Nov-13 04:36:23

I am a parent who has to have a word in advance with the teacher - to help manage DS's expectations after the disaster that was his year two play when he got it into his head he would be a buffalo. No, I have no idea either. I didn't pay any attention as figured it would go away when casting was announced. I was wrong. When he was cast as a camel, the fact that there weren't any buffalo was beside the point. He came home sobbing his eyes out and he was hysterical for two weeks. It took the combined efforts of myself and the teacher to get him to be ok with being a camel.

Every year it is something else. This year he got it into his head that it would be set in a spaceship.

vikinglights Fri 15-Nov-13 04:46:32

This is when i love our tiny school, with only six in the class they all get a starring role...... Or three!

We dont do a nativity though

thegreylady Fri 15-Nov-13 09:23:57

The giraffe's older brother is Joseph having had a thespian career as a cow in nursery, a sheep in Reception and a shepherd in Yr1. Giraffe wannabe says he'd rather be in the Jungle Book! His pic is on my profile with a Woolly spider knitted by a lovely mnetter last year.

noramum Fri 15-Nov-13 13:09:37

I love our school. They do a Christmas play and each class has a group role. Last year they did "Children of the world", each class did a song and as DD's one represented Australia it was Summer dresses as the costume.

Only the Y2 children (Infant school) will have lines. No idea how the teachers cast the pupils but so far the requirement is a loud voice.

The school has a special needs class and they do the nativity play, no speaking lines required, one teacher reads the story. These 10 children are not able to participate during the normal play but as being part of the school will do their own. The school has the costumes.

Xochiquetzal Sat 16-Nov-13 22:49:10

I wonder how many parents actually talk to their children before complaining at the teacher.

DD's teacher and TA have clearly made a real effort to consider everyone's talents and personalities and have given parts to fit each child brilliantly, they have some very talented dancers and some children with beautiful singing voices so have given out the parts to reflect that, yet there was still a mum bitching that her daughter's part doesn't have enough lines, even though her DD is delighted that she has a singing part!

Periwinkle007 Sun 17-Nov-13 11:15:05

I am amazed people complain to the teachers to be honest. I mean my daughter isn't happy with her role but I am very happy, no costume to make, only a short line to learn and only 1 cue, no acting to practice, no singing. ideal to me. She is disappointed but that is the way it is.

all that worries me is her plan to do it particularly badly.... (she has been spoken to very sternly about this by me)

NewNameforNewTerm Sun 17-Nov-13 11:30:54

We actually ask the children what sort of part they want; no lines, a few lines, lots of lines, dancing? Within reason we give each child what they want (with a little tweaking knowing child X who asked for lots of acting and lines, is really anxious about everything, stage shy and struggles with short and long term memory, as we know it would be putting too much pressure on her, so only a few lines we can easily prompt on or replace if she refuses to go on stage).

It is the parents who have ideas what they want their child to do. When a parent complains I pull out their child's request slip where they've ticked what sort of parts they are interested in and share that with the parent. Some have the grace to accept we have given a role based on what their child wants and what we feel is best for them. Others still argue and go to the head demanding more ...

StayAwayFromDeliriumDive Sun 17-Nov-13 11:42:19

DS2 is a dog, not just any dog - he is a corgi. Not just any Corgi - he is the queens corgi!

According to DS a dog costume will not do - it absolutely must be Corgi-like!

Just marvellous!

NewNameforNewTerm Sun 17-Nov-13 11:48:47

Costume idea for SAFDD
Onsie adapted like this this
Add pearl necklace collar and a tiara?

NewNameforNewTerm Sun 17-Nov-13 11:50:08
StayAwayFromDeliriumDive Sun 17-Nov-13 12:00:56

NewName - you are assuming I have the skills to adapt it!! I may know some one who does though.

I love the collar and tiara idea - not sure DS will agree though!

ParkerTheThief Sun 17-Nov-13 12:04:01

NewName, I do that to.

I have been accused of forcing a pupil to write something she didn't want to!
I asked them to choose up to three roles they were interested in. Apparently the one she wrote down, and got was one she didn't want and I forced her to write it

AuditAngel Sun 17-Nov-13 12:08:20

When doing the nativity in reception, DS asked to be a shepherd. When asked about it, he said, "mummy, it's the only costume we have at home already. That's why I asked. And I asked quickly, to make sure I got to be a shepherd"

Noramum, I think we did the same play last year, DD1 was Polish. We got a request for white shirts (could be uniform ones) and a coloured knee length skirt, white apron plus hair ribbons. DD didn't have a suitable skirt so I asked MIL to cut down an old one of mine to make it, plus make an apron. She asked for more information, then told me to call SIL to ask to borrow the Italian regional peasant costume she had given DN a couple of years before. It was almost perfect. Little white puffed sleeves, red skirt with rick rack, black bodice and attached pinny.

Other than that DS needed dark leggings and a green top to be a Christmas tree, white tshirt and white tights to be an angel (if DS was younger than his sister it would have been fine, I had to buy tights and leggings, but DD grew into them) DD was a star, hopefully DD2 will suggest she is a star to reuse that!

NewNameforNewTerm Sun 17-Nov-13 12:12:04

I keep having to remind myself why we do it! All that teacher time, money, stress ... (Baa Humbug!)

SAFDD - sorry missed it was D S, maybe medals then?

mrz Sun 17-Nov-13 13:21:23

Not so beanandspud one year we had a child who desperately wanted to be a sheep so was duly cast and dad came in to complain because their surname was Lamb

NewNameforNewTerm Sun 17-Nov-13 13:31:09

grin mrz. If we cast according to surname I can think of a few to make us giggle, but daren't post for fear of outing myself.

SatinSandals Sun 17-Nov-13 13:42:48

I feel sorry for all the children who are like me and want to be in the chorus, hidden at the back and yet have to contend with parents who want them centre stage!

beanandspud Sun 17-Nov-13 16:12:40

grin mrz

Periwinkle007 Sun 17-Nov-13 19:20:32

Mrz - you could do a name change and post them all there....

melmo26 Sun 17-Nov-13 20:17:38

One year dd1 & 2 were in nursery play together, dd2 was an angel( which dd1 was the previous year) and dd1 was a camel. She hated being a camel. ( no matter how much dh and I said how cool camels are) She stood behind two other kids the whole time not joining in on any of the songs. Dd2 got about 1 minute into the play, burst out crying and refused to go back on stage smile

There is no way we would have went to her teacher and said dd1 will not be a camel. It's the part she was given,end of.

We recently moved so will see how dds do this year. I didn't even know that some schools made parents make a costume. All we've needed the past 2 years is a white t-shirt and tights. I can't sew sad

MiaowTheCat Mon 18-Nov-13 12:27:45

Once worked at a private school where the parents ruled the roost to ridiculous levels. One woman refused for an entire remaining academic year to speak to any staff in the school as her son had been in the second row of angels and not right at the front (child was one of the tallest in the class).

All costumes had to be made by the staff - and we weren't allowed to go to the factory outlet to buy the fabric for it - it HAD to come from John Lewis (and I was the only staff member who could work a sewing machine... so muggins did them all). Couldn't even re-use costumes from previous years with alterations - so all the fucking shepherds had to be re-made from scratch.

I got wrong another year for suggesting we picked the play based on which songs you were LEAST likely to catch yourself singing on the way around Tescos!

Oh and the year I had to ban one over enthusiastic shepherd from bringing his dad's cattle prod in to use for his costume... although that would have proved handy to wrangle the bunch of shepherds who were not the most "with it" members of the class!

But spare a thought for parent and child who are privately and certainly-never-going-to-share-with-the-teacher very disappointed because the promised speaking part never materialised. Because she now knows she's 'not good enough'. Self esteem can be very fragile.

Galena Sat 23-Nov-13 10:19:33

Depends on whether the speaking part was actually 'promised' or whether they were invited to audition and the best children for the role were chosen.

Teachers cannot get it right - either choose children with loud, clear voices so everyone can hear, and be accused of favouritism, or choose children whose self esteem needs boosting and have everyone (except the child's parents) complain that they couldn't hear a word.

Acinonyx Sat 23-Nov-13 13:21:43

This year - every child has at least 2 lines. Seems reasonable.

I have heard grumbles about some pupils always getting the main parts. I wonder how they even know this - I couldn't remember who any of the main parts were from previous years if my life depended on it. Happily dd doesn't care and neither do I.

The costume saga OTOH hmm OMG................hmm

itsnothingoriginal Sat 23-Nov-13 17:14:11

It was a rough week for DS last week as he auditioned for a part he really wanted despite being really scared (hes very shy). He was was told afterwards by his class teacher he sang beautifully she was hopeful of the part for him...and then he didn't get a singing or speaking part at all sad

A rude awakening for him I think..

Maybe it's because DH is a governor (had no idea giving leading parts to governors kids was a sin!)

SatinSandals Sat 23-Nov-13 17:28:38

I'm not sure why schools bother putting on plays these days, it causes so much angst with people sure that they get parts if the parent is on the PTA or don't get one if they are a governor. ( A novel suggestion but maybe they just audition and take the best for the part!)
I am convinced that parents would be happier if every child had a costume, stood in a line and all had an equal lines of dialogue!

mrz Sat 23-Nov-13 17:31:15

Our EYFS leader has decided they are not performing a nativity or songs this year and parents are up in arms about it

insanityscratching Sat 23-Nov-13 17:33:23

Dd is Mary with a solo. I think her teachers must have nerves of steel seeing as Joseph (like dd) has a statement of SEN and I wouldn't have thought they were the easiest of options to cast. Dd will need handling with kid gloves for a start hmm.

AbbyR1973 Sat 23-Nov-13 17:34:26

At DS's school, the asked them what they wanted to be and have first preference to year 2's for whom it will be their last nativity. I suppose it's easier because there is only 15 per year group. I think they found not all DC's wanted starring roles. According to DS all the boys wanted to be soldiers!
DS1 is delighted because he is going to be King Herod! He seems to be attacking the role with sinister enthusiasm!

itsnothingoriginal Sat 23-Nov-13 17:55:31

SatinSandals - my point about DH being a governor was tongue in cheek grin I have absolutely no pretensions about this being the reason for DS not getting his part.

My point was really about managing the disappointment - especially when it's such a big deal for some kids to put themselves through an audition.

insanityscratching I think it's great your DD has a major part -DS has SEN too and I think the school didn't want to take the risk..

SatinSandals Sat 23-Nov-13 17:58:43

I thought it was, but there is no doubt that some parents think there are outside reasons and not just the ability of the child!
Managing disappointment is a very useful skill to have and the resilient child will go far in life!

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