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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.

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

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

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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

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.

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