Monday, February 25, 2013

The Local Moron

Hello, friends, and thanks for stopping by! My name is Anne Johnson, and this site is dedicated to Gods and Goddesses who are lost to time ... forgotten, discarded, overrun ... but still able to make a damned great sunset.

I want to thank all of you who posted kind remaks about the passing of Alpha Johnson. Some of those were so beautiful they made me cry! Blessed be to all of you. I was very comforted.

Well then. On to today's sermon.

My favorite local moron is a high school teacher in Snobville who directs all the school plays. This moron teacher came to the school when Heir was there, and the first thing the guy did was cast his own daughter in the leading role of every play until she graduated. Then there came to the school a family with a whopping six daughters, some of whom had bit parts in various little movies and professional stage plays. Since Daughter #1 became a freshman, no one but the siblings of D#1 has gotten the lead in the school play. Now Daughter #6 is a sophomore (I think), and she has the lead in this year's musical. Her older sister is the second lead.

I suppose Local Moron Teacher felt the need to offer a mea culpa about this constant casting of the same young women, year after year. He told our puffy local paper that these girls are "professionals" and he expects professionalism in his productions.

Since my daughter The Spare was one of the many casualties of Local Moron's slavish devotion to his professional daughter and subsequent sibling juggernaut, I've been wondering about the intentions of a high school play, the level of professionalism, and bald possibility that Local Moron is just out-and-out casting teacher's pets.

I'd like your opinion on this. Should all school clubs work like athletics? In other words, professional athletes are not allowed to play for their high school teams. Shouldn't this perhaps work the same way for dramatics? One would think that a big family of sibling thespians who have a theatrical agent could get paying gigs elsewhere, leaving the school stage open to the kids who don't star in cereal commercials.

Honestly, I felt sorry for The Spare. Possibly she wouldn't have gotten a big role in anything, anyway, because the competition at Snobville High is fierce. But she felt like she never had a chance. She auditioned for every musical and was optioned to the chorus. Unwilling to be hollered at by Local Moron during practices, Spare wound up doing costumes, a thankless job that she did with great "professionalism."

What do you think? If you were a high school director, would you go with the kid who has paying gigs, a voice coach, and a stage mom who cooks you dinner once a month, or would you cast the second-best kid, who is admittedly amateur but willing to work hard and wanting so badly to star in a play?

To finalize this sermon, I will only add that Local Moron's high school plays are anything but professional, from curtain to curtain. He cuts the musicals in half, content-wise ... and everything is a musical. He hasn't staged a music-free drama since 2007.

Should high school plays go for the same actors and actresses, year after year after year? Your opinion is sought on this topic!


Anonymous said...

As you said, the answer would depend on the purpose of school plays. If the purpose is to give various types of experience to as many students as possible, then, obviously, the "professional" actors should be disqualified from auditioning at all, though it might be especially good experience for them to work "behind the scenes".
Sounds like your moron teacher is more interested in being admired as a director than in giving the kids a good experience.

Anonymous said...

I went to a high school where the same kids were in the play year after year and feh, how boring it was. Fair chance should be given to all who audition.

And yes, some of the "stars" would benefit from working behind the scenes. A play or movie is a group effort.

Chase said...

I wonder how many others have noticed the same thing you have, and think that it's gone on long enough. And, of course, I wonder where is the one schmuck in a position of oversight who thinks this is A-OK.

Anonymous said...

This happened at my high school, except the director only had 2 daughters. I was too young for the reign of the older one, but I heard she got all the ingenue roles. I was the same age as the younger one, who was....well, not going to get the ingenue roles based on looks, I'll put it that way. She could act, but she always had to play the mother-in-law or the evil witch or whatever character parts. It was less monopolizing that way, I suppose.

What really annoyed me was that I never got into a play and I couldn't even get into the behind-the-scenes stuff. If you couldn't sing, you weren't cast, period. Even when they were supposedly doing plays rather than musicals, she'd put singing in. DAMMIT.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

What's the school's policy when it comes to sports teams? Do only the best players play so that they can have the most wins possible? Or does the coach put in every kid so they all play, even if it costs them the game?

Competition can be harsh on kids, no matter if it's sports, the school play or the state spelling bee.

Whatever the school's policy is, it should be consistent in all student activities.

BellaDonna said...

School is for learning. You can't learn if you never have a chance to try. Since Local Moron is obviously unwilling and/or unable to actually TEACH students how to act (since he only casts students who already have experience or whose family he is currently brown-nosing), he should be replaced by student directors, and should be forced to do makeup, cleanup, and/or setup instead. That ALL may learn thereby.

Helen in CA said...

My experience is as a parent of a daughter who was in school plays.

Yes, the better actors got the roles. But there wasn't a pattern like her kids or 1 family. AND she certainly never cut the plays. Plus there were always a play in the fall and a musical in the spring (my daughter only auditioned for the musicals, since as a dancer she was in rehearsal for Nutcracker in the fall).

Sometimes parts were double-cast. And some of her students went on to become professionals after college (actors & dancers). But this wasn't favoring people that were working in high school, but rather saying that some of those high school kids in her program continued in college and became professionals having gotten their starts in high school. In my mind, an indication of the quality of the program. And they WORKED.

The Kitchen Witch said...

Well I was semi-professional in High School and whenever I tried out for the play I always chose a supporting role so that I wouldn't have the school play competing with my actual jobs! Then again I never went all out professional because I just didn't want to deal with the "I'm the best at everything and you just suck" types. I guess we can't all do that and maybe Moron director should be the one to be the adult and NOT cast the same people in the same parts every year. I knew directors like that and everybody hated it and at the same nobody said anything to them because they didn't want to kill their chances.

hillbilly fairy said...

Oh don't even get me started. This little town should have nepotism for its middle name! The high school theatre teacher cast his kids and relatives (some of whom were home-schooled, hello!) so often that we often called it the "(Insert his last name here) Theatre." But I actually think this is fairly common. My daughter doesn't go to our local school, she goes to a high school for the arts, and yes, you tend to see the same kids get the major roles, or solos in the vocal recitals. I think in the case of the theatre productions, the teacher/director may have been afraid of casting an unknown quantity, since these productions are crazy expensive and it's on her to make sure it doesn't bomb. There are enough snide comments in that city about why on earth do we need a school for the arts, blah blah blah. Now that he's not the director anymore there's a new guy, and he casts the same kids over and over..... But I really think everyone should be given a fair shake. It's not fair to cast the same kids in major roles, and you shouldn't expect the other kids to sit around sewing costumes, for example, when you are in this school to study theatre. For one thing, it makes those kids resent the kids who are getting cast all the time. I have often felt evil thoughts when my daughter is overlooked, so I know how you feel!