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School play ethical dilemma - do you think this is fair?

(204 Posts)
Sixerseconder Fri 22-Jun-18 22:55:50

I was just wondering if I could fish for opinions on whether or not this situation is fair. I’m feeling rather conflicted about it, even though it’s my child who benefits.

My dd is 11 and in Year 6. At her school, the two year 6 classes join together to do a play, as one of their end of primary school celebrations. In recent years, the play has been a musical.

My dd is a really good actor, I would say one of the best in her year. She won a school competition last year where all the kids in her year recited a poem from memory - she did a funny one by Roald Dahl and she got to perform in front of the governors. She’s also had major roles in all the previous school plays. She’s confident and she’s funny. I’m not just saying this as a biased Mum - I fully recognise the many things she is absolutely terrible at, including anything sporty. She can’t draw either. But when it comes to exuberant acting and making people laugh, she can do it.

The problem is, the one thing she is shy about is singing. She doesn’t have the most amazing singing voice ever, though she can sing in tune, but she is adamantly opposed to ever singing solo in front of other people.

And the school play this year, as it has been in recent years, is a musical. For this year 6 school play, they held auditions (for previous plays further down the school the kids were asked to write down their top 3 choices of parts and teachers allocated them, my dd always ended up with a big part). And these auditions were singing only, and took place in front of the whole of year 6 and all the year 6 teachers. The children were told they could either sing a song on their own or with some friends, but had to sing at least a few lines solo.

Dd decided not to do a singing audition. I obviously wasn’t there, but dd tells me that almost every other child in Year 6, including all the other girls, auditioned. Many of these kids were clearly terrified of singing in front of so many people, and many couldn’t sing very well or in tune, but, unlike my dd, they faced their fear and did it.

However, when the parts were allocated, my dd was given the main comic role - it’s a role that had a lot of speaking lines, and didn’t have many solo singing lines, and those it had the teachers told her she could sing in a group rather than on her own. She’s in every scene, she loves the role, and she’s so good at it and so funny (I’ve seen a dress rehearsal as I’m helping put costumes and props together.)

But... many of the kids who actually sang by themselves to audition, and who were very shy, and sang very quietly or a bit out of tune, have been given rubbish parts. Two of them don’t actually have any lines, and just follow around my dd (they’re playing her servants, which rubs salt in the wound, somewhat...)

Many of the mothers of the kids in her year are really unhappy with this. They think the auditions were a stitch up and the teachers had decided who would play each part before they even held the auditions. And they don’t think it’s fair that my dd gets a huge, fun part when she didn’t have the courage to audition. I’m not really sure how to respond when I hear these whispers/insinuations, because, on one level, I can see how good my dd is in that part, but on the other hand, I can see the injustice of it.

So, what do you think? Should my dd have been given the main comic role because of her natural acting talent? Or should she not have been given a major part because, unlike other kids who probably have worse voices and far less confidence than her, she couldn’t pluck up the courage to do a solo singing audition?

SezziBaybee Fri 22-Jun-18 22:59:40

I feel for you OP as it does seem unfair if DD didn’t audition. Sounds like the school need to assess for next year what they expect and if it’s audition only, then that’s how it should be, without exception.

soapboxqueen Fri 22-Jun-18 23:07:35

It's not your problem. If anyone says anything to you or dd direct them to the staff. It's sounds like a big role and maybe they thought only your dd could carry it off. Who knows?

This kind of thing is one of the reasons school performances were my most hated thing to do when I was still teaching.

siwel123 Fri 22-Jun-18 23:09:49

I'm unsure on this.
If she didn't audition why should she get a main role? Also isn't it fair that as she seems to have and major roles before to give others the chance?

But then on the other hand if she has the talent and is the best there then it would be daft to exclude her from performing.

Ooh this is harf

ikeepaforkinmypurse Fri 22-Jun-18 23:12:40

You didn't get involved in the selection, so it has nothing to do with you, I wouldn't engage.

No, the school is not fair, it should be one rule for all. Your daughter should not have been given a main part, it's sending a terrible message to everybody: to her, that she doesn't need to bother, she will get her way anyway.

WhenISnappedAndFarted Fri 22-Jun-18 23:13:42

I'm also split with this one.

Your daughter does sound like a very good person for the main role but she didn't audition. That's really not fair on the other children but you know that.

I'm not sure what I'd do in your position. What's done is done I guess, how would your daughter react if they took it off her? I'm sure she'd be devastated. Either way someone's upset so I think I'd leave it as it is and if someone complains they staff have to deal with it, they caused this.

Joboy Fri 22-Jun-18 23:14:49

Some on has to Carry the play and turn up and go . Your child will . If the others like drama and what to act there are loads of drama schools out there .

Sixerseconder Fri 22-Jun-18 23:14:49

It’s too late to do anything about it, they’ve been rehearsing all term and the play is in a few weeks.

I was more just wondering how I should respond when other parents question the casting quote openly.

Sixerseconder Fri 22-Jun-18 23:15:18

*quite

Thehop Fri 22-Jun-18 23:15:32

I see their point, but the teachers have known your dd for years....they can’t help doing “rolling auditions “ throughout the school year and basing their choices on their knowledge of the pupils.

I’d ignore it. It’s done now, they need to take it up with school if they have a problem .

NoSquirrels Fri 22-Jun-18 23:15:49

if she has the talent and is the best there then it would be daft to exclude her from performing

But if she doesn’t out herself up for it, she shouldn’t be considered. Harsh but fair.

Right now there’s nothing to be done. Ignore, rise above etc. But I would probably speak with the teachers and say whilst you’re DD’s biggest supporter, obviously, school have let her down a bit because A) they’ve put her in a position where other kids/her friends might be annoyed with her and B) they haven’t taught her the valuable lesson that you need to audition against others and face your fears.

That’s leaving aside the effect on anyone else’s children, and just focusing on the effects on your DD.

School should rethink in future.

Slartybartfast Fri 22-Jun-18 23:15:54

Hold your head up, you did nothing, she will be great, well done her, be proud

SoupDragon Fri 22-Jun-18 23:16:18

She’s also had major roles in all the previous school plays.

I suspect this is part of the problem too. Parents being annoyed that the same kids get picked all the time crops up on MN regularly.

Slartybartfast Fri 22-Jun-18 23:16:55

The school want a good performance

NoSquirrels Fri 22-Jun-18 23:18:30

I see their point, but the teachers have known your dd for years....they can’t help doing “rolling auditions “ throughout the school year and basing their choices on their knowledge of the pupils.

But if they wanted to cast it that way, they shouldn’t have held auditions with rules.

OP if anyone asks you direct tell them the truth - that you agree it has been mishandled but what’s done is done.

DailyMailReadersAreThick Fri 22-Jun-18 23:19:03

So the auditions ONLY included singing, not acting? That's really strange.

It's a role that doesn't require much singing but does require comic acting ability to be done well. Your daughter didn't audition for singing but the school know she's an excellent comic actor. I can't get worked up about the unfairness, although I see it's there.

If I heard parents muttering about my child I would tell them it was nothing to do with you and they can take it up with the teacher if they have a problem. Grown adults behaving like they're in a blood playground.

RedDwarves Fri 22-Jun-18 23:21:26

The school want a good performance

It's a school play, not a Broadway production.

Pastaagain78 Fri 22-Jun-18 23:22:01

It’s not your problem. You didn’t rightly or wrongly do the casting. In a few weeks you won’t have anything much to do with them.

Sixerseconder Fri 22-Jun-18 23:22:14

So the auditions ONLY included singing, not acting? That's really strange

For the auditions, she was told she might be able to recite a poem instead, but she didn’t get to as they ran out of time (due to almost every other child doing a singing audition).

LoopyLou1981 Fri 22-Jun-18 23:22:27

It’s not your’s or your daughter’s fault but the school should never have given her that part I’d she didn’t audition. Kids at that age are old enough to know that that’s not how it works.
If it was me, I’d ask for a less obvious role for your daughter. Still speaking, comedic etc but another child that overcame their fears for the audition deserves that role x

NK493efc93X1277dd3d6d4 Fri 22-Jun-18 23:24:07

Our school did exactly this and the teacher selected her favourites - one of whom didn't even audition.
I understand the parents being upset but it is the teacher that their anger should be directed at.

DailyMailReadersAreThick Fri 22-Jun-18 23:25:12

For the auditions, she was told she might be able to recite a poem instead, but she didn’t get to as they ran out of time (due to almost every other child doing a singing audition).

Did the others have a choice or was it presented as singing only?

I don't think it matters, I'm just curious because this seems a weird way to cast a play. grin

Slartybartfast Fri 22-Jun-18 23:27:13

The school think it is a Broadway production, whatever, it is important to them, don't worry about it

BoneShaker Fri 22-Jun-18 23:27:25

"They think the auditions were a stitch up and the teachers had decided who would play each part before they even held the auditions."

I think the parents are right. Why on earth did the school bother holding auditions when they were just going to give the main role to a child who hadn't auditioned at all? Even worse, the same child gets a major role every single year.

It's not fair but it's also not your DD's fault that this has happened. The school made the decision and should be the ones to deal with the consequences.

Quartz2208 Fri 22-Jun-18 23:28:26

The school screwed up they should have done acting audition then singing

But given the way they did it you can see why people are unfair

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