So…your kid Is into Theatre…FAQ's and advice
What does that mean for parents? First and foremost, you're in for a great adventure. It's a wonderful creative outlet for your student. And, it's a great opportunity for you to see your child in a completely new light. Here are a few of the things other parents have passed on over the years.
Q: How many productions are there each year?
A: There are 2 main stage productions, one in the fall, a musical in the spring and the Advanced Theatre classes put on their own productions -- usually a cabaret or similar. In addition, there are a set of student-directed One Act plays during the winter. An Advanced Theatre production is entered into the VHSL (Virginia High School League) One Act Play competition which has the potential to be a state-wide event.
Q: What is the best way to start getting involved with other parent volunteers (the Choregoi)?
A: Consider volunteering for something small. You might start with working concessions, flowers or tickets on show nights. This is a good way to get to know people and know the families of the students your child is hanging out with. It’s also a great way to stay connected with your child and their interests. The Choregoi also have monthly meetings. The best way to find out about current parent events is to get on an email list and/or join the Facebook group.
Q: What if my son/daughter says they don't want me getting involved?
A: The short answer – don’t listen to them!
The longer one – even when our kids tell us not to be involved, generally they like to see their parents interested in their activities. Sometimes they feel like they have to tell us not to be involved, as if to prove their independence. That’s part of the growing up process. If your child insists that you shouldn’t get involved, remind him or her that if every parent stayed away, the Choregoi couldn’t do any of their incredibly helpful and fun activities. We need as many parents as we can to help!
Q: Is there something I can do that lets me help without appearing too involved?
A: There are plenty of times and places that you can help without being “in the way” of your child. When there is a show running, you can be behind the concession stand, or sell flowers or tickets on show nights. Attend a meeting and ask about behind-the-scenes fund-raising, publicity and other projects.
Q: Can my child balance being in a show and homework too?
A: Of course! Hundreds have. The students in sports, band, and other after school activities have the same issues. Students quickly learn to balance their schoolwork and Thespian Honor Society responsibilities. If your student is in a lower grade, have him or her ask an older Drama student for advice on how to do this! While it is difficult to keep up with homework if you are unorganized, many students do their work between rehearsal sets or when they are not on stage. Think of it as the ultimate multi-tasking, and good training for the hectic life your child will have in college.
Q: Can this take up a ton of my student’s time?
A: The time that your student will spend on a production is influenced by the size of a given role or whether they are in charge of a technical crew or simply a member of a crew. Students very often exaggerate the amount of time needed to complete a production when speaking to their parents because they love to hang out with their peers while a production is underway -- whether they have actually been scheduled to rehearse or work or not! So the amount of time that a student spends can seem like a lot but often their presence is not being mandated by the production itself. But...theatre can take up a lot of a student's time. The thing to remember is that this is not wasted time. This is time that your student is learning more about themselves, how to work and interact with others and how to express the artistic side of themselves.
Q: What is “hell week”?
A: The week leading up to the first performance of any MAD Drama performance is called “hell week” because it’s the last chance to get everything done before the Big Night. And that means there’s probably going to be rehearsal and/or technical work being performed every day after school and well into the evening. It’s exhausting, yes, but the students run on adrenaline – and food supplied by the Choregoi – and learn what it means to really dedicate themselves to a common goal. As the saying goes, “it’s a good kind of tired.”