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DD demoted in school play due to appearance?!

(29 Posts)
QueenofQuirkiness Tue 11-Oct-16 22:18:32

Hi all, my DD who is in Year 11 came home very upset today. She rehearses for the annual school production on Tuesday nights after school, and the production this year is Les Miserables.
DD auditioned for a role and was given a role in the senior chorus, with the main roles going to the sixth form. The senior chorus play the factory workers/revolutionaries/prostitutes etc.
Tonight at rehearsal the senior cast students were rehearsing the scene with the prostitutes, when my DD was taken aside by a member of staff and asked her age and school year. She told them she was 15 and in Year 11, and she then told me that she went back to the group to continue rehearsing. About twenty minutes later the teachers came back and took DD out again, and told her that she looked too young and small for it to be 'appropriate' for her to play a prostitute, and so would she mind being in the Year 7-10 cast for the numbers at this point in the production instead.
DD was upset as she wants to keep the part she rightfully was given, and all the other Year 11s are in the senior cast. I've told her she needs to speak to the teachers and tell them, but she says they won't let her be in the number and were quite adamant that she would be moved down. She is 5'2 and quite young looking and slim, but I'm sure other Year 11s are too! AIBU to think this isn't fair?

Undersmile Tue 11-Oct-16 22:23:13

Surely she'll be acting? hmm What a ridiculous decision. I would have thought plenty of Y11s are of small stature, just as many fully adult women are.

Though, there were definitely 15yo prostitutes in Victor Hugo's day.

LIZS Tue 11-Oct-16 22:25:18

Are the other y11s turning 16 by the performances? It might be that the licence is quite strict on age of those playing prostitutes etc. dd was in a production a year or two back and younger children had to be off stage during the dodgier action and language!

AndShesGone Tue 11-Oct-16 22:27:22

I'm not sure. If she looks younger than the other girls it might make the audience uncomfortable?

I'm completely anti prostitution but the prostitution of a child who is clearly not old enough to have sex/consent to sex (no, I don't think prostitution is consensual) is somehow worse than an older looking woman playing it.

It's a difficult one.

PrincessHairyMclary Tue 11-Oct-16 22:34:09

We have some year 11s who look about 12 and some Year 11s who could pass as 20+. And yes it would look fairly inappropriate for some of the younger ones to play the prostitutes but if she's acting and in costume she'd look older anyway.

Mybeardeddragonjustdied2016 Tue 11-Oct-16 22:36:12

Is it that realistic a play? blush

BabyGanoush Tue 11-Oct-16 22:38:26

Should school children really be playing prostitutes in a play?

OutDamnedWind Tue 11-Oct-16 22:38:44

Tbh, if it's that inappropriate, why perform Les Mis? Surely you make clear in the program or whatever that those roles are played by the senior cast who are Y11.

I don't necessarily think it is, btw, just find their logic a bit odd!

misshelena Wed 12-Oct-16 14:48:45

I think they made a casting mistake. They should not have given DD that part if they didn't think she fits the part. But I don't think it's right of them to take it away from her now. It's just a school play, so what if one of the kid doesn't "look" the part? None of them "look" the part if it's an adult role!
Maybe you should talk to the director and tell her that this is making dd really upset, it's their mistake, and is it really worth ruining a kid's experience for a relatively small issue from a relatively small part?

GeorgeTheThird Wed 12-Oct-16 15:01:03

Schools have to be really careful with these sorts of parts. DS1's school did Cabaret and the older girls were playing the prostitutes. They had to wear their normal underwear, then a flesh coloured leotard, then the french knickers and silky vests that were the costume. I'm pretty sure they were all over 16 too.

leonardthelemming Thu 13-Oct-16 12:38:06

I honestly don't know why schools want to put on this type of production. Once, when I was still teaching, the girls (many of them sixth-form) refused to take part unless the drama teacher agreed to certain cuts to the script - because they didn't feel comfortable. And the fees to get a performance licence are not cheap either. Why not do something else, or even write their own musical? (I've known it done.)

LifeIsGoodish Fri 14-Oct-16 09:22:07

When our school did LesMis (which was amazing BTW) it was made clear that all children performing in the prostitute scenes, boys and girls, prostitutes or otherwise, had to be 16+, and look it. The looking it part was because the audience watching, and any 'outsiders' seeing photos would not necessarily understand that under-16s had been excluded. They did not want to give anyone the impression that a child was over 16 when they weren't. But for us it was made clear from the very beginning, in the call for auditions sheet.

Can your dd not be off-stage just for that one scene, and remain in the Senior Chorus for the rest of the play?

MrsJayy Fri 14-Oct-16 09:26:36

She is 15 the teacher is obviously mindful of how young she might look in a song about prostitutes i know she is dissapointed but doing such an adult musical they do have to be careful how it looks

PerspicaciaTick Fri 14-Oct-16 09:27:31

Why not make her a worker or revolutionary (as the OP says these are also being played by senior cast)? They could have done that without drawing attention to DDs looks and without asking her to perform with the junior cast. It sounds like the school have handled this poorly.

MrsJayy Fri 14-Oct-16 09:29:15

Dd used to do school shows and some of the scenes in the last 1 she did were older teenagery and it was the seniors over 16 who were singing/acting Dd got a minor swearword and sex talk but she was 17 .

MrsJayy Fri 14-Oct-16 09:30:44

Oh yes the school have not handled it well poor girl she must be devestated

Balletgirlmum Fri 14-Oct-16 09:32:57

That's ridiculous. Plenty of young girls were forced into pristitution at a young age so it will be authentic. A note in the programme - Seniir Chorus year 11 & above will suffice to keep up appearances.

it's not as if it's Miss Saigon is it (ds's school did this a few years before he joined for years 10 & above only)

Balletgirlmum Fri 14-Oct-16 09:35:46

And the only restrictions on the licence for the schools version of Les Mis is that all cast members must be no more than 19 years old & in full time education.

BertrandRussell Fri 14-Oct-16 09:39:23

Difficult. There was a similar issue when did was in The Threepenny Opera in year 12- there were two casts so the principles were chorus alternate nights IYSWIM and it was decided that a couple of the girls looked too young to be in the chorus of whores.

Could your dd not be a revolutionary instead?

LifeIsGoodish Fri 14-Oct-16 09:42:51

It's not about licensing. It's about people assuming that a child is over 16.

MrsJayy Fri 14-Oct-16 09:47:45

Yes it is about how it looks i thought lovely ladies would be cut down/ censored for school production obviously not

MrsJayy Fri 14-Oct-16 09:48:51

Chorus of whores shock

Dontyouopenthattrapdoor Fri 14-Oct-16 09:52:05

The whores are only in some scenes/ songs. Surely she could be a revolutionary still and a passing beggar in the Lovely Ladies bit?

Bit shit of them. Not the best show choice for a school production, and I love Les Mis!

Balletgirlmum Fri 14-Oct-16 10:03:48

I think it's a great school show if you have strong singers. Not much dancing required which is often a weak point in schools & lots of ensemble work for all ages.

If anyone objects to the content it's their choice whether to take part or not.

It's certainly more appropriate than Grease.

BertrandRussell Fri 14-Oct-16 11:14:57

"Chorus of whores shock"

grin Do you know The Threepenny Opera?

Dd actually promised to live with me and look after me all my life if I didn't tell her grandma she was in it!

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