SHOP

WHY SCHOOL PLAYS ARE SO EXCRUCIATING

Post image

Comedian and father-of-two Luke Toulson explains...

Want more from Luke? Read his take on being a competetive dad.

Every parent knows the excruciating pain of having to watch somebody else’s child massacre a musical number while impatiently waiting for their own child to enter the stage. During these moments; ‘moments’ is, of course, the wrong word, as it implies something joyful or fleeting, rather than the interminable hell into which you have just been plunged - but during these mind-numbing  moments, three questions routinely jostle for prominence inside my mind:

1. Can I leave in the interval?

2. Am I allowed to heckle?

3. How long should I leave it before publishing my one-star review?

(Answers below*)

Why can’t parents be given the specific times that their child will be on stage, allowing us just to turn up for those bits? I’m not the biggest fan of musical theatre at the best of times, so what chance has five-year-old Freddie got? But I will stick around if there is a chance he is going to cry. This probably won’t go down well with the TantrumXYZ readership but there is nothing more entertaining than watching somebody else’s child have a meltdown. That, my friends, is proper theatre.

Parents, you need to stop telling your kids their performances are brilliant. They aren’t. It would make a mockery of the acting profession if they were. When have you ever heard someone proclaim, ‘You simply must see Year 2’s production of Waiting For Godot. I will be astonished if it doesn’t transfer to the West End.’ Even the very worst professional actors tend to have spent three years at drama school, however I was shocked to hear that none of my daughter’s fellow cast members had even read Stanislavski’s An Actor Prepares.

I was shocked to hear that none of my daughter’s fellow cast members had even read Stanislavski’s An Actor Prepares.

Yet parents continue to throw unwarranted praise around as if it were confetti. We don’t do this with maths.

CHILD: Two plus two is seven.

PARENT: That’s amazing! Well done. You’re so talented.

No, we explain to them that they are wrong and then get them to repeat it until they get it right. Like when I told my daughter her school production of The Sound of Music was so bad by the end I was rooting for the Nazis.

Is it any wonder school plays are so appalling when the vast majority appear to be directed by the PE teacher, whose sole qualification for the job seems to be having access to the sports hall. Why would someone incapable of constructing a viable lesson plan be charged with the responsibility of staging The Pirates of Penzance?

And when will schools start performing plays other than the Nativity at Christmas? Being the owner of two teenagers, I have seen more Nativities than the Pope. Mix it up. How about telling other festive stories like A Christmas Carol or Die Hard?

Anyway, I better stop writing because my daughter has just come back on stage and Freddie’s dad is giving me evils…

 

(*Answers to the questions: 1. Absolutely. 2. Keep it light. Steer clear of stuff like, ‘I shagged your mum.’ 3. Wait at least until the play has finished.)

Want more from Luke? Read his take on being a competetive dad.

Comments