Friday, December 23, 2005

High School Productions-Part 1

This is a loaded topic.

Whenever there were productions in my school, I looked at it as time off, and emptier classrooms. It was awesome having 6 kids in the class because one's off sewing, the other's painting, the other's singing.

There are mixed emotions about these things. Some feel it gives the girls time to shine, it takes the stress off school, it gives them something fun and safe to do after school, and they even get to raise money for the school in the process. Others feel that it is biased, only allowing specific girls to have their chances at the spotlight, leaving others out to rot. They feel that it distracts the girls from their schoolwork, and gets really catty.

Fortunately, I was never involved in this, because I felt it was stupid, melodramatic, and as the yeshivish would put it, "nebby." No, not Broadway-ish cool. NERDY! STUPID! POINTLESS! Don't get me wrong, I have been told I have a flair for the dramatics, and was in some skits in the younger grades. But who needs it? I have spoken to many high school girls about these performances, and only few truly enjoy them. The ones who are constantly "head of this" and "head of that. "

A few of my friends are really talented in this area. One in singing, the other in dancing. Yet, they were never head of anything. Their talents were never acknowledged. Not by head of the play, or the "heads" from our class. The same kids were always chosen for everything. The same kids were the main parts in the play--and this happens in every school in my neighborhood. So the kids who are constantly involved are happy. Others, who enjoy the sewing and other behind the scenes work, and do it every year, are happy as well. The girls who feel they have something to give, but are constantly turned away are not. And believe it or not, there are more of those than the girls who get egotrips--(which aren't good either).

Why was I never involved? I simply did not care. Don't give me this, "She's so jealous..." stuff. 'Cuz I would embarrassed to be a part of those nerdy things. Don't get me started on the intolerable grammar in those scripts, the annoying songs, and melodramatic acting, hurrendous accents, and boring dances. (No offense SS!! Luv ya, kid!) Anyway, I thought I had better things to do with my life. I did. I watched TV, I talked to the teachers, I wrote, and I had all this free time while they were all nervous about some small-scale performance.

Do these things do more harm than good?

19 Comments:

At 12/22/2005 9:04 PM, Anonymous Nathan Jacobs said...

Do they do more harm than good? You tell us!

I think the concept is a good one, but the way it's carried out may leave what to be desired. So let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater.

 
At 12/23/2005 7:56 AM, Blogger Y.Y. said...

these small performances are a real waste of time.
good for you

 
At 12/23/2005 9:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are undoubtedly great benefits from these performances. Students who cannot shine academically have a chance to shine via another forum. Keep in mind that these are not meant to be Broadway show caliber. Students should have a good time and everyone should share the spotlight. The show is for parents, friends, etc. It's just a nice way for people to exhibit otherwise unnoticed talents. Unfortunately, schools seem to be going more for the fundraising aspect, and for a couple of hundred bucks, the whole point is lost and the performances are usually mishandled. Schools very often choose the same person for the main part year after year. This seems somewhat pointless since the obvious intention is to have a good show (apparently, he/she is the best actor/actress), but if the whole point is to let everyone shine, isn't that defeating the purpose? Regardless of who plays the main part, they will NEVER be Broadway caliber, so what's the point?

 
At 12/23/2005 12:00 PM, Anonymous Ira Koenigsberg said...

I agree with nathan jacobs on this one (except for that awful cliche).

I think these productions give the kids who may not be the brightest students a chance to shine in other areas. Plus, it's a break from the crazy rigor of girl's high school. Michelle, I'm sure you didn't mind a break from historia or english or whatever it was. And unlike with the guy's, there's no "bittul torah" issue involved. Plus, it can be a nice fundraiser for the school.

SO in theory, I think it's a great idea. But in practice, I agree with Michelle: the same "cool" girls should not be able to run the show the whole time. But as the last commenter pointed out, you do want to make sure there's talent up there, in order not to embarrass the school or the poor clueless girl getting sent up there.

 
At 12/24/2005 6:21 PM, Blogger Lost said...

As a performer in one of these productions, i can tell you, it was both a complete waste of time, and a lot of fun.

My freshman year, i dropped out after a week because it was stupid and too time consuming. i dont do kickstep, step, kick. i just dont. i hated it. and it was a ridiculous waste of time. classes were empty, tests pushed off and it was just dumb as dirt.

Next time production rolled around, i was Senior in hs, and it was completely different story. The group i was in was a choir, and my friends were the 'heads.'
That give me the liberty to show up to practices whenever i felt like, got myself a nice little solo, and i had a great time. we used to skip practices to joyride around the neighborhood becuz practice was a total free for all. True, classes were still empty, finals pushed off, canceled. Senior year is total waste of time anyway, but thats neither here nor...
In sum, finally, i think productions can be unbelievable for those who utilize them to shine, if they dnt nec. 'shine' in the academics part of school. Otherwise, it turns into a balagan and an excuse for cutting school. Honestly, im suprised you brought this up, Michelle. 2.5 years outta hs? from where did this topic arise?

 
At 12/24/2005 9:28 PM, Blogger Josh said...

I agree with Lost's last point- This is quite the random post, Part 1. But I think the issue is real. If these plays are meant to have real extra-curricular value, teachers must take somecontrol, and make sure that everyone who wants to finds a role in concert with their talents. I don't think a play is vital to anyone's education, but reinforcing cliques is certainly detrimental.

Michelle, can you explain how you "better" spent your time by watching TV instead?

 
At 12/24/2005 9:51 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

Anon-that argument is decent, but it is old. I also disagree, because there are still many who never got to "shine" despite this supposed opportunity.

Lost-you'll see in part 2

Josh-All in the Family!!!

 
At 12/25/2005 6:35 PM, Blogger Josh said...

touche! No Ali G?

 
At 12/25/2005 7:49 PM, Blogger Yael said...

When I was in high school, I found that many girls hated rehearsals and the months of preparation leading up to the performance, but they loved the actual feeling of being onstage when the night itself came. Due to some extensive selective memory process, they would talk for months later about how amazing the experience was and completely forget the annoyance and frustrations of the previous months. (Personally think that this selective memory process happens again when girls go to seminary in Israel, but don't get me started.)

So is the exhilirating momentary high worth the months of aggravation? Performances tend to bring out bad middos in many people, and so many girls feel hurt because they know that they will never gets the roles and jobs that the more popular girls get. Furthermore, parents too often find the performances annoying because they are forced into spending their nights and weekesnds chauffering, they pay through the nose to purchase tickets, and then have to endure the long performance and pretend to have enjoyed it. Parents' resentment might even be enough to cause friction at home.
And yet, those few moments on stage can mean the world to some girls. There are some girls who never shine in school because they are not particularly bright, talented, or popular, and those few moments on stage might be very important to them. There are also other girls who are very talented and have no other acceptable outlet to release their creativity energy. Face it, if you're a frum girl, you don't have many opportunities to act, sing, or dance ever again. (to be cont'd)

 
At 12/25/2005 7:54 PM, Blogger Yael said...

(cont'd) I love to act, and I still have a hard time dealing with the fact that I'll probably never go onstage again. I agree, though, that the performances need to be limited. In my school, we had them once every other year. It's nice that my entire high school experience is not colored by chaotic practices, disorganized messes, missed classes, and annoyed teachers. I agree with you, though, that high school performances need some serious re-vamping. They should be of lower scale, they should not take up as much time, they should have better faculty advisors, and they should be more careful when they choose heads. If done carefully, high school performances can be wonderful experiences. If not, they can be devastating.

 
At 12/25/2005 7:56 PM, Blogger Yael said...

Oops, left it out... When I meant "more careful when they choose heads," I mean that they should not give the SAME PEOPLE good jobs and roles all the time....

 
At 12/26/2005 3:17 PM, Blogger Lost said...

High School Shtus. Let's talk about what to do when scary weird people from college want to chill outta campus! thats prevalent! and relevant. waiting for part 2.

 
At 12/26/2005 8:39 PM, Anonymous shani k said...

hey good points here...i totally agree with michelle. of the heads of the production was a complete perfectionist and if something went wrong...oh boy. it was always the same girls who got to "shine" every year, and boy did they ever have egos.i think that schools should stop productions, but since thats not happening, they should try to give everyone a way to utililize whatever talents they may have, and rotate high positions-not to pik the same ppl. every time!! -shani

 
At 12/26/2005 11:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was the only thing in school that made me happy ACTUALLY. And I'm not one those "heads" you are talking about.

 
At 12/27/2005 1:55 AM, Blogger Pragmatician said...

Your post brought back an old sore.
I was always picked to appear as a figurine, just to give me a spoton the stage, but not once did I get a line and I wanted it so bad!
In my biased opinion it's a bad thing! Only a few kids shine, while the rest envy, feel stupid or feel left out.

 
At 12/27/2005 6:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems that all the people who gained from it think productions are great while all who were hurt, left out etc. think they're dumb and pointless (duh). Does that mean we should cancel it altoghether? If yes, maybe we should just forget having school, because some people aren't academically inclinded. Maybe there should be no such thing as a yearbbook because people are slighted...you see where this is going-that's life!!! nothing is perfect, yes it can be more perfect, but that doesn't mean we should have it cease completely.

Michelle-you say there are still people who don't shine-but you agree that there are people that do! so why forget it totally?

 
At 12/28/2005 10:34 AM, Blogger Elster said...

It's not pointles - though it might be pointless for some people. No one is forcing those who don't want to particiapate to do so.
Though I guess it is hard for those who are left out, I would think the benefits outweigh the negatives

 
At 1/26/2006 2:01 AM, Blogger blueenclave said...

I was very impressed by the Bais Yaakov performance that I went to because it was entirely student run. The students develop leadership qualities by doing the productions.

 
At 1/31/2006 10:10 AM, Anonymous Chani said...

Productions can do a lot of good, but unfortunately, most schools lose that. Instead of giving everyone a chance to shine, yada, yada, yada, like you said, the same girls get the same jobs every single time. I remember in twelfth grade when the same girl headed a choir & had a main part. I thought that was ridiculous, but I thought it was interesting that she hadn't given herself a solo. Then I found out that she didn't need a solo, she had a whole song to sing by herself. One of our teachers commented with a face that this girl seemed to be extremely involved. Yeah, these productions are never very professional, even though I think some of them come out nice. So why do the same girls get the same big parts & roles every time? No one's suggesting putting girls who cannot act at all in a main part, but something should be done, because an opportunity is being lost.
My mother used to hate that the productions were always in the winter time, because I was always overworked & overstressed & I always ended up getting sick. My father really didn't like the amount of time that it kept me from home at night or that my mother had to chaffeur me around every night.

 

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