Embarrasing Parents - (not performing types)

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paulears
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Embarrasing Parents - (not performing types)

Postby paulears » Sat Jul 02, 2016 6:49 pm

Just spent two days running a show that features song and dance from Primary and Secondary schools in the area. Every school got to dance and sing - songs mainly from the shows and movies.

A few things stood out. It was very simple to spot the children who have proper singing and dancing lessons as they were so ahead of the others - and I'm talking from the primary kids from about 7 upwards? However, it was also very clear few of the children had ever been to the theatre - not even for panto. Worse still, the audience were the most poorly behaved bunch I've seen for a long time. Parents actively booing different schools when their kids were performing, talking loudly through it all, and one bunch who had a go at the sound man, who by the end had had enough. The problem was that many of the children simply couldn't sing, or had been poorly prepared. With amateur singers on stage, about half might move their lips but no sound comes out, while a few more just don't even know the words, leaving just a few making a noise. Parents (and some of the teachers) expected microphones to magically fix this. The sound guy turned their tracks down low, but still they couldn't be heard. In the rehearsal, he tried lowering it even more, but as the track got lower, the kids couldn't hear it so well, so sang even more quietly. During the show, he had a stream of complaints saying they couldn't hear the children - and some were very rude. Indeed, one group demanded their children be given a second go - which the organiser agreed to, adding it to the end of the first half for a second try. This time the sound man simply turned the track down so their voices could be heard and the audience were treated to the kids racing away with the words, finishing ten seconds before the music. Other (male) voice yelled encouragement to their children WHILE they were singing - football supporter style. Over 200 arrived late because their children were not on until later in the list - disrupting everything. At the end, over 300 people were crowded outside the stage door - yelling for their kids, each time the door opened and a small group left.

Dreadful behaviour. Three shows and thank goodness they are over. Some of them were really nice kids and pretty talented, but some were disgraceful in their behaviour.

The sound man has told me he will not be doing any more, because he doesn't expect abuse when he is doing his job to the best of his ability.

Katymac
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Re: Embarrasing Parents - (not performing types)

Postby Katymac » Sat Jul 02, 2016 7:00 pm

It's terrifying

paulears
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Re: Embarrasing Parents - (not performing types)

Postby paulears » Sat Jul 02, 2016 8:09 pm

What concerns me most is that everyone is trying hard to encourage people to go to the theatre, but these people do - it will spoil the thing for the others. They don't know how to behave - that's it really!

Not sure if anyone has seen the latest experiment in America? Apple have been fitting some of the phones people use that have the beta software on them with anti-photo sensors. The idea is that you would have the latest Disney/ALW show protected from photography. A special gizmo in the theatre is received by the phones and this triggers a photo ban. Trying to take a photo or video simply doesn't work. So far, the producers are pretty impressed. Apple are not certain that making this feature mandatory is legally ok, but the printer scanner manufacturers have something similar. Some printer scanners will not duplicate a bank note. Some will. Adobe Photoshop recognises banknotes and will not let you edit them.

So maybe people's rights will be protected legally. Imagine the pop concerts, shows and events where people ignore the signs - there could be quite a demand for this.

RoseTowers4
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Re: Embarrasing Parents - (not performing types)

Postby RoseTowers4 » Sat Jul 02, 2016 8:42 pm

That sounds awful and I feel sorry for both you and the poor sound man! You spoke about the utterly appalling behaviour of the parents and the discrepancy between the kids' abilities, so I was curious to know what the kids' behaviour was like. Having been to a similar event with my ds's school where the parents were encouraged to clap and 'make a bit of noise' for their school, I would have been appalled if anyone had booed any of the children performing!

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Re: Embarrasing Parents - (not performing types)

Postby daisyjane » Sun Jul 03, 2016 8:04 am

Wow! What a horrible experience for you and the other staff! It reminds me of two things - first, the youth that I work with on our local estate - they have almost zero idea of how to behave at events like that so whenever we have taken them out I give them a talk before hand about appropriate behaviour and I make sure that responsible adults are sat in among them in the performance. I have no qualms about hoicking the kids out and having a reinforcing talk with them if they "forget" what to do. It sounds a bit draconian but they come from a slightly feral background where they are left to decide for themselves what is OK behaviour and they just don't get some forms of polite social rules. Secondly, when we went to China last summer to see dd in Sound of Music we saw that before each performance the audience were given a talk from the stage by two cute children about clapping, photos,eating. This was reinforced by stern looking attendants who marched up and down with flashing placards saying "NO CAMERA" etc for the half hour before the curtain went up. I even had a bottle of water removed from me by an attendant who was strictly enforcing the no drinking rule! Theatre going is a new experience for many Chinese so the theatres are taking seriously the job of educating people how to behave. Maybe we need a more pre-active approach in the UK if more people are forgetting or have never been introduced to the social "norms" for performances?

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Re: Embarrasing Parents - (not performing types)

Postby fartoomuchtodo » Sun Jul 03, 2016 8:29 pm

Last year I and two friends went to see The Full Monty in Sheffield. We all loved the film so we thought we'd enjoy the show. The 3 of us were surrounded by a huge group of middle aged woman (and I say that as a middle aged woman myself) who came to the theatre armed with carrier bags full of Lidl vodka and gin! From curtain up they were cat-calling, whistling and shouting 'ger em off'. They ruined the whole show but the theatre staff did nothing and I think they should have.

Paulears - if these kids were front schools were there no teachers to keep order? Mind you, I attended a governors meeting the other week where there were complaints about people using their phones, talking, leaving after their child had performed and we all though the head should've said something.

If nothing is said how will these people and more especially the kids, learn how to behave in the theatre? Mine have been taught since an early age to respect the performer - even if they're not very good. It takes guts to get up there and do your thing!

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missmoneypenny
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Re: Embarrasing Parents - (not performing types)

Postby missmoneypenny » Mon Jul 04, 2016 10:24 am

Oh that's so sad :(

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Re: Embarrasing Parents - (not performing types)

Postby lyndahill » Mon Jul 04, 2016 12:56 pm

How sad for the children, talented or not - they all deserve praise for having the guts to get on to the stage in the first place. I get so cross at a theatre with people that constantly talk, rustle sweet bags, etc, they have no manners in my opinion. How could any parent boo at another child - that's apalling behaviour {evil}

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Re: Embarrasing Parents - (not performing types)

Postby Griffer » Mon Jul 04, 2016 3:19 pm

I recently went to see a touring performance of Chicago: it was good (not great) but enjoyable. During the song "Whatever happened to class" a woman in front of me took out her phone and started emailing or messaging. How ironic I thought!

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Hecouldshine
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Re: Embarrasing Parents - (not performing types)

Postby Hecouldshine » Mon Jul 04, 2016 4:32 pm

I can recognise the difficulties you have had Paulears but I think the schools could have done more to prevent this.

Our county runs dance evenings at a big theatre. Admittedly there aren't the sound issues. The parents have to buy tickets and turn up at the start without knowing the running order. They wouldn't be admitted part way through. The children are there several hours before for the run through and the school lay down the rules to their pupils. It's not a competition so no reason for any booing. The audience is certainly inexperienced in audience etiquette but it's quite sweet seeing whole families turning up to watch their children, even if their behaviour can be unexpected.

Recently I went to see The Shepherd's Life (War Horse style version of the book The Shepherd's Life) at our local theatre. It was very funny , but also lovely, as there were many Cumbrians in the audience who had obviously never been to the theatre before (not the theatre's usual middle class retired audience). Some of them started shouting ripostes back to the stage - ones that were typical farming banter. To be honest, the dialect of the play was so strong that you needed to be Cumbrian, or to have lived here awhile, to understand it.
He could go and he could shine, not just stay here counting time,
Son, we've got the chance to let him live

from Billy Elliot the Musical

paulears
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Re: Embarrasing Parents - (not performing types)

Postby paulears » Tue Jul 05, 2016 9:17 am

The troublesome schools were recent invitees to an event that has been going for three or four years, and being honest, some of the teachers were pretty poor at control, whole others OTT.

Under the stage is a big empty area, always taken over by the kids shows - and it is surrounded with old posters floor to ceiling from shows from the past 50 years.

As I came out of the loo, I saw two girls leaning up again the wall (and the posters) and they accidentally ripped one down. I saw the male teacher head for them, but he just said "shush'. I asked him, quite politely to put the poster back up. "They didn't do it, it was like that" was his instant response. I pointed out that I had seen them do it and he needed to fix it. "Have you got any pins then?" got my response of "You broke it, you fix it". Three quarters of an hour before the show, they put 200 of the kids into seats usually hidden behind curtains at the rear of the auditorium. In their haste, they didn't wait for front of house to open the curtains, but dragged them themselves and as usual, they jammed up - refusing to close or open, leaving the kids behind the curtains. I went to get a ladder. When I returned the same man was berating the poor sound guy again demanding the curtains were opened. He pointed at me, and he returned to his seat. We fixed them.

During the show the booing group of kids were told to not boo - they continued, and their two teachers made no attempt to stop them because, I guess, standing up and telling them off would be very public and embarrassing.

The mess that had to be cleared in between each show was truly surprising. Loads of bottles of pop, not much water. Ice cream running down the aisle, sweets - but worst of all I had to stop one group coming in with chips!

The funniest, in the horrible sense, was the parents asking for refunds citing the low quality of the show - but, I noted, only after their kids had been on. These were all refused, and the box office people in the foyer got that abuse, with raised voices audible in the auditorium.

We have lots of eastern europeans in the the area and they were perfectly well behaved. All the bad behaved children and parents were quite distinctive, if you know what I mean. Not the usual theatre people we see. Just totally unaware that theatre is not like watching TV at home. The kids on stage were NOT identifiable as belonging to those people, which is nice. Despite being warned in rehearsals, many did dodgy things backstage with safety implications and their teachers were oblivious to all this - many being quite in awe of backstage activities and the darkness.

Ignore the following if you are not interested in technical things - but I posted this on one internet backstage forum. Maybe you will smile?

This is some of the conversations we had during the rehearsal day of tomorrows three shows.

Angry Teacher - you played the wrong track, that one only had one chorus.
Sound - there was only one track, I played it.
Angry Teacher - but it was the wrong one.
Sound - do you have the right one?
Angry Teacher - no, I gave you what I had.
Sound - If you can give me half an hour during lunch, I'll edit in an extra chorus if you sit with me to make sure I do it right.
Angry Teacher - I haven't got time to waste sitting here with you - I have to look after the kids!

Angry Teacher 2 - what do you mean it won't play?
Sound - we asked for CDs of everyone's music, it doesn't play. Hang on, lets put it in my computer. Ah - it's an .aiff file.
Angry Teacher 2 - no it's music.
Sound - yes, it's music but you just copied the file from your computer to the CD, that won't play on a CD player.
Angry Teacher 2 - It plays on my computer.
Sound - yes
Angry Teacher 2 - so what's the problem.
Sound - Can you give me a few minutes during lunch and I'll sort it?
Angry Teacher - No I am taking the kids back to school at 12. You've ruined our rehearsal!

Angry Teacher 3 - what do you mean it won't play?
Sound - we asked for CDs of everyone's music, it doesn't play. Hang on, lets put it in my computer. Ah - it's an .mp4 karaoke file, with embedded words.
Angry Teacher 3 - we always turn the screen off.
Sound - I'll convert it to an audio CD in my lunch break.
Angry Teacher 3 (muttering as she walks away) - Idiot!

Angry Teacher 4 - There's no internet?
Sound - no sorry, there isn't.
Angry Teacher 4 - but I always play the music direct from Youtube. I don't have a CD.
Sound - ah?

Angry Teacher 5 - No I don't have a CD, I brought my school laptop. (Hands over a macbook)
Sound - fine, I'll just pull out the cable I used for playing the other school's music off that ladies iPhone. Ok - press the button.
Angry Teacher 5 - that's funny it can't find the server.
Sound - where's the server?
Angry Teacher 5 - In school, is that a problem?

Angry Teacher 6 - I can't read my music
Me - That's because you and the piano come on in a blackout
Angry Teacher 6 - Can we do the blackout with some light
Me - er, no because we don't want the audience to see the scenery and you coming on. Tell you what - you just wait for me to set it up, you come on, the lights come up and then you can play.
Angry Teacher 6 - (grumpily) - I suppose so.
Big crash of the teacher sitting down hard on the floor.
Angry Teacher 6 - Where's the piano stool?
Me - did you bring one with the piano?
Angry Teacher 6 - no, we don't have one
Me - neither do we.

Angry Teacher 7 - Cosmo should have a microphone
Me - oh, sorry, is that on the list? (Knowing it isn't)
Angry Teacher 7 - I thought you'd know this.
Me - ok, no problem, which one is Cosmo?
Angry Teacher 7 - how should I know?
Me - aren't you his teacher?
Angry Teacher 7 - No - that's why I don't know who he is
Me - does anyone else know who he is?
Angry Teacher 7 - I will ask Miss angry Teacher 8
Angry Teacher 7 - Miss Angry Teacher 8, do you know which one is Cosmo?
Angry Teacher 8 - the one with the Yve St Laurent T-Shirt
Me - which one is that?
Angry Teacher 8 - the one that is Moroccan sunset
Me - eh?
Angry Teacher 8 - That one with the Straight back
Me - they all have straight backs
Angry Teacher 8 - (sigh), that one! the one with the double stitching on the wrist
Me - sorry, it's very dark I can't see who you mean.
Angry Teacher 8 - Him! That one! (she points at a lad walking past me, about 3 feet away)
Me - the only black student out of 30?
Angry Teacher 8 - I can't say that, it's unacceptable.

I gave him a mic. He couldn't sing!

That's my day.

Katymac
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Re: Embarrasing Parents - (not performing types)

Postby Katymac » Tue Jul 05, 2016 12:25 pm

Oh Paul- it is so scary!

The comment about the black kid is so funny too - DD (in reception so a long time ago) got so upset because they wouldn't let her do a self portrait in pink....apparently they had bought brown paint in specially because she was coming #-o

I think we need to move - any suggestions?

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Re: Embarrasing Parents - (not performing types)

Postby gingerbam » Tue Jul 05, 2016 4:40 pm

=D>

Oh Paulears, that is so funny and stressful for you

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Hecouldshine
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Re: Embarrasing Parents - (not performing types)

Postby Hecouldshine » Tue Jul 05, 2016 7:39 pm

Paulears that was brilliant :lol: :lol: :lol: But I feel for you, and even more for your sound man!
He could go and he could shine, not just stay here counting time,
Son, we've got the chance to let him live

from Billy Elliot the Musical

Rose20
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Re: Embarrasing Parents - (not performing types)

Postby Rose20 » Wed Jul 06, 2016 12:18 am

Loved reading that Paul- so funny!


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