I saw my daughter’s first school play, and it was awful.

Vikram Bath

Vikram Bath is the pseudonym of a former business school professor living in the United States with his wife, daughter, and dog. (Dog pictured.) His current interests include amateur philosophy of science, business, and economics. Tweet at him at @vikrambath1.

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11 Responses

  1. Roland Dodds says:

    Expect more in your future for the next decade of your life!

    I had a terrible youth play experience last week as well. I invited a local Shakespeare company to our school to perform. They are a reputable group; an institution in this area. We knew this was their youth wing, but we didn’t expect them to be 12-13-year-olds. They insisted on not using microphones.

    While they gave passionate performances (you could see that all the children performing wanted to be there) it was an indecipherable performance. Not only was it impossible to hear them, they were too young to understand the finer aspects of acting and Shakespeare and thus it appeared to be one child running through their lines quickly with another child then going through their lines. The student audience was baffled for an hour and a half.

    It was the worst thing I have ever subjected my students to.Report

    • >you could see that all the children performing wanted to be there

      That would have been such an improvement. I really wish they just hadn’t bothered. It’s not like I really had that extra night free with nothing better to do. Neither do I feel any particular pride in seeing my daughter up there yawning. The whole thing seems to benefit no one, least of all the kids.

      >Expect more in your future for the next decade of your life!

      I could always just not go! Trust me. I’m temptedReport

      • Slade the Leveller in reply to Vikram Bath says:

        Bart: Yeah, and a good dad wouldn’t miss his son’s little league games!

        Homer: I told you, I find them boring!


        • I don’t really get why showing up for this kind of stuff is supposed to be an accurate measure of how much you care about your kid. It’s one of the least effortful things you can do as a parent, and it doesn’t even involve you interacting with your kid (though my daughter did wave a few times). But if she’s not into it, I’d rather spend time with her doing something elseReport

          • Slade the Leveller in reply to Vikram Bath says:

            You’re preaching to the choir, sir.

            My kids were involved with all sorts of stuff when they were kids. My wife went to the sports stuff only under extreme duress, and I went more often than not because I had nothing else going on. I was often a bemused onlooker, while other parents really got into it. At one of my son’s football games his coach got flagged for the antics of one of the dads. Was the call bad? You bet, but ranting at the officials wasn’t going to get it reversed, and it probably embarrassed the hell out of his son. Sports parents are the WORST.

            The non-sports stuff, like your daughter’s play, we were the parents checking the program to tick off the stuff making sure we’d get to the end before we gouged our eyes out.

            Cat’s in the Cradle wrecked it for all of America.Report

            • Oh good lord. This is the first time I’m hearing the song listening to the lyrics.

              By a freak occurrence, I actually am on track with the song. I did miss my son learning to walk because it happened on the week when he and my wife left for vacation before I could.Report

  2. Jaybird says:

    Teacher: We’re going to let you, the children, write the play.
    Kid 1: We want to do Game of Thrones!”
    Kid 2: I want to be Renly!
    Teacher: No, no, no. We want it to be a nice play!
    Kid 1: We want to do Hunger Games!
    Kid 2: I want to be President Snow!
    Teacher: You know what? We’re going to sing along to the Nutcracker.Report

  3. Alan Scott says:

    I’m interested to see if Saul and Kazzy have takes on this.Report

    • Kazzy in reply to Alan Scott says:

      Schools do what I call horse-and-pony shows often. I don’t like them. They’re of very little, if any, educative value… especially when accounting for opportunity cost. But, unlike Vikram, many parents eat that shit up. “Little Jackson Pepper sang ‘Over the Rainbow’ wearing the cutest little Cowardly Lion costume! Our tuition dollars at work!”

      Sometimes teachers are required to put the kids through these. Sometimes the teachers actually think they’re valuable teaching/learning experiences. Rarely do they offer any benefit to the kids and they even carry the risk of (short-term, minor) harm.

      If you’re comfortable doing so, make your feelings known. Most schools do this because they think all parents want and love it. If enough speak out, maybe they’ll change. Skipping it altogether with a quick, thoughtful message why can be effective BUT sometimes it is important to the kiddos that family attend — even if only because everyone else’s will be there — so tread carefully there. In that case, show up, clap and smile, tell them you loved it and are proud of them, and address it behind the scenes if at all.

      Vikram is a bit rare in his willingness to be honest (I love kids — my own and kids in general — and derive unique value from observing and participating in their play and even I get bored with it) and to see beyond the cuteness of something for the real value, so unfortunately most parents eat this shit up and the cycle continues.Report