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Audition feedback- OK to ask?

(22 Posts)
SirVixofVixHall Mon 29-May-17 17:27:09

Is it reasonable to ask for feedback on a school audition?
Background- dd is 12. She auditioned for the school play last week, and was told by her English teacher (one of the panel) that she'd done really well, and prompted the next day not to forget to check the board the following day for parts allocated .
She came home really upset because she's been given a non-speaking part in the chorus. She overheard some girls laughing about another pupil who has also been put in the chorus, and now thinks everyone is laughing at her behind her back. As she's been bullied in the past this has really got to her, she is worrying about it.
According to dd, there are some people who are really good at drama in her year, and she thought competition for the main roles would be tough. However, her drama teacher said at parent's evening recently that she is one of the best in the class. She is top of the class in English. She speaks well, with clear diction, and has an amazing memory for lines. From all the above, she, (and we), assumed that she would be given some sort of speaking part, even if it was a very minor one, and having seen her go through her audition piece, I thought she had at least a chance of a main role. Now I am worried that my advice to her when i saw her rehearse, may have been frankly, crap, because I really don't understand what could have gone so wrong. Her out-of-school drama teacher had said much the same to her as I had, that he thought she had a good chance of a main role, and that she would certainly get some sort of speaking part, because she was doing the piece well, with expression and clarity.
Is it reasonable to ask for feedback on what must have gone awry in her audition? She normally thinks she's done rather worse than she has at things, and she felt it had gone reasonably well, with a few things that she could have done better. I thought she was doing well, and as she loves drama, and would want to try for parts in the future, it would be helpful to have some honest feedback.
She's had a serious health issue this year, which I suppose could have put them off casting her, but I would have thought if that was the case they would have mentioned that to us? So I'm assuming that she came over badly in her audition.

Any advice? She is miserable and it has given her confidence a bit of a knock (rather fragile at the moment due to bullying and health).
This is no criticism of the teacher/s who decided, I realise she/they must have good reasons, I'm just stumped as to what they could be, as this is a subject that dd is strong in, and she is the sort of child who would learn the dialogue of the entire play within a couple of rehearsals. Does it sound too pushy to ask where she might have messed up? DD said:- (names changed) "Lily, Olivia and Grace are really good at drama and they deserve their (good) parts , I didn't expect to get one of the main roles, but I really did think I would get a speaking part. Tom and Andy have speaking parts, and I honestly think I am quite a lot better at drama than them, I'm not being mean about them Mummy, they are really nice, but I really do think that is true". She isn't a boastful child at all, she's very self critical, so if she's saying that I do think she's probably right. Would you ask the teacher for feedback?

Witchend Mon 29-May-17 18:36:46

I thought she had at least a chance of a main role. Now I am worried that my advice to her when i saw her rehearse, may have been frankly, crap, because I really don't understand what could have gone so wrong. Her out-of-school drama teacher had said much the same to her as I had, that he thought she had a good chance of a main role, and that she would certainly get some sort of speaking part, because she was doing the piece well, with expression and clarity.

Thing is both you and the out-of-school drama teacher were wrong to say that to her because you have no idea what everyone else was like. It may be she's excellent, but the parts for 12yo girls had 8 others going for them who were brilliant.
There may be other things that are unknown to you that have come into play as well.

And for "Tom and Andy" getting parts and not being as good it will probably be pure and simple as not as many boys auditioned so the pick was much smaller.
I chaperoned for a sound of music (amateur) audition for the children. There were over 100 girls for 8 parts (doubling up) and 6 boys for 4. Not one of those boys would have been in the top half of the girls. That's life.

I don't think it's easy to have an objective view of yourself (or your dc!) against others in something that's subjective like performing arts, so she may think she's better, but there may well be something about the others that make them stand out-stage presence for example, you can't really tell how much people have that until you actually see them on stage, and I don't think you can judge your own (or your dc's) easily because to you your dc is always centre stage.

Basically however you phrase it, you're saying to the teacher "it's not fair, she should have had a part".
So no, I wouldn't mention it. If you get to parents' evening next year and see the drama teacher then saying "she's very keen on having a speaking role this year, what are you looking for" is the best I'd advise.

2014newme Mon 29-May-17 18:41:13

Nothing wrong in asking for feedback. Dd should do it herself though, you shouldn't do it.
Agree with pp that you and her extra curricular drama teacher raised her expectations without knowing what the others are like.
My dd recently didn't get past first stage for a role in a professional show as she was very nervous. That's life

BackforGood Mon 29-May-17 23:11:57

Agree that, if she wants feedback, then your dd can go to ask the drama teachers.
It is obviously disappointing, but really not a good idea for you to go in and ask - it will just sound like a Mum unable to believe her pfb isn't perfect in every way.

corythatwas Mon 29-May-17 23:48:34

One thing to remind your dd of is that this is not like a race where the person who runs faster wins, or a maths test where you will nail it if you get all your answers right.

A play, even something as basic as a school play, is about making bits fit together so that the whole looks good. This may well involve casting a less talented child who is better for that particular part. It's not personal. And there will be more opportunities.

If your dd cares enough about the theatre to have extra drama lessons it will help her to take this on board.

I have an adult dd who has been in amateur theatricals since she was 4 and is now about to start adult drama school. During those years there have certainly been times when I have thought dd would have been better for a particular part than the girl who got cast. But all that means is that she would have been better for my idea of the part. The girl (or more recently, woman) who did get past was right for the teacher's/director's idea of the part.

Zodlebud Mon 29-May-17 23:48:59

In the professional world of acting absolutely not but at school absolutely. Phrased in the right way she will be able to get some constructive feedback.

If this is a whole school show then they will ALWAYS give the bigger parts to the older children. It's a kind of hierarchy.

Remember though that no part is small. My daughter works professionally and has been in feature films and Europe wide TV commercials. She played "broccoli" in her last school play. A non speaking part. She was a bit upset initially but she totally rocked it. And then people raved about it (it was a bit of a comedy role).

Being an actor means you are flexible, adaptable and rejection is part of your life. You can shine in a chorus if you let yourself.

SirVixofVixHall Tue 30-May-17 00:21:09

I love the idea of your dd being a fab comedy broccoli zodlebud!
Thanks for all the advice. I really appreciate it. She does competitive arts stuff in school and then she always gets feedback, which is really helpful, but they aren't giving it for this.
I don't know, they rave about her in school, they rave about her in her out of school class, she is expressive and nice to watch and listen to (and I really am a horribly brutal critic, even with my own dcs) So I'm genuinely baffled as to what went wrong in the audition, and so is she. She could really do with knowing quite how she came across. She was told after the audition that she'd done really well.
She says that the girl who got the main role will be great in the part and deserved it, it isn't sour grapes, more a crushed feeling that she really thought she was good enough to have at least a line or two, and now she feels foolish. Exacerbated by overhearing the girls meanly laughing at another girl only being in the chorus.

corythatwas Tue 30-May-17 00:41:03

If she wants to carry on with drama she needs to learn not to take it personally, for the reasons I mentioned. If other girls fitted the teacher's idea of how the whole show ought to work, then there is no question of anything having "gone wrong". She may well have been brilliant, just not right for those particular parts.

The answer is, as Zodlebud, says to be flexible. Comedy broccoli if you get a chance, or even (as dd once did) doing a quiet and unassuming, but competent, job of being part of a staircase. But try to think of it as a project, not a competition.

2014newme Tue 30-May-17 00:44:28

Why are you assuming something went wrong at the audition? Perhaps someone else just pipped her on the day. It doesn't mean anything went wrong. That's an unhelpful attitude to your daughter.

SirVixofVixHall Tue 30-May-17 12:09:41

I hadn't thought of it like that 201newme, but I see what you mean. I will go away and think about my attitude and how I can help her. I had seen her go through the piece at home, and given her some advice on how I thought it could be better. I've been feeling worried that perhaps my advice was wrong in some way. I've also been assuming that something had gone awry in the audition. I'll try and talk to her about not taking it too personally. She is really upset, she is embarrassed, rather than jealous of the others. (Her confidence is wobbly generally, particularly since the health thing).
And cory, that is wise advice. Thank you all for helping me gain some perspective. She auditioned for a film role a few years ago, the director had seen her in her drama class and asked her to audition, she got through to the final round of auditions but another girl was chosen. She wasn't at all upset then, she was fine about it. This time is different I think because of the bullying aspect. I think she is worrying what people will say about her.

TheatreTaxi Tue 30-May-17 15:37:05

I'm sorry to hear that your DD has bee so upset by the audition outcome, OP. I agree with the previous posters; most likely nothing went wrong with your DD's audition, it was simply that other girls were thought to be more suitable for the parts being cast.

My DS is 10 and has worked in professional theatre. One thing that rapidly becomes evident during the professional audition process is that the quality of the audition performance is only one part of the casting equation. Suitability or "good fit" for the part is at least as important - and suitability can hinge upon factors that the child has no control over, such as height or colouring. A child who has played a major role in a West End show might be unsuccessful when auditioning for a part in another production (I've known quite a few instances of this), not because they lack talent or experience, but because they just aren't a good fit for the new role.

Your DD should be proud of her audition. It sounds like she was well-prepared and gave a strong performance that she was happy with at the time. A non-speaking ensemble part is nothing to be ashamed of, and can be a good opportunity for some character acting - in his last school play DS's speaking part was cut at the eleventh hour due to time constraints, so he worked out a particular character for his crowd "extra" and had a great time.

SirVixofVixHall Tue 30-May-17 16:00:19

I've talked to her more about it. She says she is very embarrassed because people will be expecting her to do well and she hasn't. She is also baffled because a different teacher (who didn't audition her, but did all the others, she had a different person from everyone else) asked her how she felt the audition had gone, and she said "it was OK" and he replied "OK? I heard you were amazing". So she'd relaxed about it and then got really upset when she saw the list.

swingofthings Tue 30-May-17 16:33:35

Your poor daughter! It's hard when you want something badly, believe -humbly- that you deserve it and don't get it. It's hard when others knew that too.

The best she can do is hold her head high and be honest. It's ok to admit she is disappointed, but that ultimately, she is now part of a group and will work hard with everyone to make it the best show ever and with her showing the right attitude, she will increase her chance to be the next one chosen.

Personally, I think the illness might have something to do with it. They wouldn't say so so not to upset her and/or you to be trying to argue with them that it was a one off and won't happen again. Ultimately, they would then have had to agree with you, potentially give her speaking part, and then find themselves with the added stress of replacing her if she did suffer from the illness again. It's much easier to not take that risk.

Maybe not of course, and you will probably never know, but it doesn't matter as the above stand. It's onwards and upwards.

SirVixofVixHall Tue 30-May-17 19:19:16

Thank you swing, that's a very kind message. The illness has made her really tired, she is improving but not completely well yet.

Allthebestnamesareused Tue 30-May-17 22:22:24

Are they all from one year group because as another pp said sometimes they give the main roles to older kids with the younger ones getting the bit parts with a view to them getting the leads the next year.

SirVixofVixHall Tue 30-May-17 22:37:17

Yes, they are from the same year. That is another reason why she felt that she probably would get a speaking part, even if it was small, as she has some idea from classes of how she is doing compared to the others auditioning.

SirVixofVixHall Tue 30-May-17 22:48:48

Should clarify that it is a long-term condition, auto-immune, that isn't going to go away but was only diagnosed recently. She is at the stage of juggling medication, and is a lot better, but not yet absolutely well. She does get very tired. She told the people auditioning her that she was much better (which is true) and that she felt confident she could take on a role. DH had a meeting at school the following day where he did stress that she is still not at her best, although he also told them that she was improving. One of the interviewers did make a comment to dd along the lines of "Your Dad said you still weren't well" and she is upset about this, as she felt the person thought she had lied in the audition. I assume that the school would have asked us outright if she would be well enough to do this, if they thought she was good enough? Perhaps not, as swing suggested? Although they know us quite well and we've had a lot of meetings about her health, so it isn't as though we wouldn't be truthful if we felt it was too much for her. She's had a very tough year, with illness and friendship issues (now ok) and lots of family bereavement, including my Mum, who she was close to.

swingofthings Wed 31-May-17 15:50:18

Your last message saddens me even more. They know her well, they know she's been through a tough time, they know she loves drama and that she's good, they should have know what a boost it would have been for her to have a speaking part and how much she needed that boost.

I would go and speak with them, not to change things but to explain how disappointed she is. Maybe they could be prepared to promise, if her health remains stable a speaking part in the next production, although if that's not until next year, it might feel like an eternity to her. Saying that, the time will come and she will appreciate her role even more then.

Rudi44 Wed 31-May-17 20:39:10

I think asking for constructive feedback shows maturity, a willingness to learn and improve and resilience. This isn't a professional production, it's a school play and a 12 year old who lives for drama just wants to know how she can get a bigger part next time around, if I were her teacher, that would impress me.

2014newme Wed 31-May-17 21:27:12

Op has your dd asked for the feedback yet?

SirVixofVixHall Thu 01-Jun-17 15:36:11

She isn't back at school until next week, so she hasn't asked yet. We've chatted about it, and she isn't sure how to ask her teacher, she doesn't want to say anything in front of the class. I do think it would help her to have some idea what the reasons were, as long as they are honest with her.

CauliflowerSqueeze Thu 01-Jun-17 22:02:26

The only reason will be that others performed better.

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