Taking Issue With High School Plays: What's The Goal?

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    Hi, I’m a high school girl in a small out-of-the-way community. Every year, my school puts on a production in which the girls are required to take part.

    It is intense.

    We are up at all times of the night and day, sewing, painting, building props, recording music, practicing drama, dancing… you get the picture.

    The school spends over 30,000 dollars on the play. Between renting out an auditorium and paying for the studio sessions (all our songs are recorded) paying a mic rental company and buying costumes, hiring a carpenter to build props and hiring a drama coach, let’s just say… it’s not so simple.

    So here’s my question.

    Most girls arent super-talented at acting or dancing or singing or painting. Some of us are best at just… sitting around wondering what we are worth, if all we can do is drag a barrel onto stage.

    And even the girls who are able to take part- they spend at least 2 months exausted, missing class, and running around like chickens without heads.

    So if we lived in NY or in Lakewood, I would understand the need for such a venture, but about 300 people attend our play. (I live, like, in middle of nowhere.)


    What’s the goal?


    They need to fill the girls time with something.


    Come now. Don’t be mad at the school. It isn’t such a big deal. Take a minor role, and just play nicely with others.


    Cynically speaking, they are trying to build the girls’ self esteem, or trying to convince you you’re not missing out by not living in Brooklyn. Not sure it’s working.

    OTOH, if everybody participates there are many life skills that can be implemented such as teamwork, time management, problem solving, creative thinking etc. These life skills are probably more valuable in the long term than most of your studies.

    Question to you is, why are you sitting on the sidelines? With so few girls, you should have ample opportunity to shine and maybe save your school some money by having to outsource less. Good luck!


    tlky: oh, yeah, cuz high school girls are just so bored with life…

    pba: not mad. just wondering (and yawning. i was in school till at least 11 the past week.) (‘practicing’)

    mammele: i’m sitting on the side because the only thing i shine at is being STRONG. so all i’m doing is waiting for the play to come so i can drag the props on stage…


    Are you sure there isn’t something else you are good at? Maybe it doesn’t have to do with the play.

    I have to be honest, I think it’s great that your school does this… (FWIW, 30K does sound excessive)


    she is certainly good at whining and complaining.


    To make people happy


    cuz the skool prob think that just cuz ur out of town u wana do what a reg hs dus, which is make a play!!and u sound rlly pessimistic rite now.. are u the only one who hates play or e/o in ur skl dus?


    They do it to prove to the girls that although being Jewish has some restrictions there are many kosher ways to have a good time, and also they don’t want you hanging out Saturday nights.

    My high school also spent about 30 grand on their plays and they were happy on the years they broke even. They plays aren’t meant to be a moneymaker. The plays are meant to keep the girls happy.


    13: you are underestimating yourself. If you are strong you might very well be able to build props (using cardboard, corrugated plastic etc.). It probably doesn’t need to be made from wood for one time use; then paint and the audience won’t be the wiser. Props are fun because they won’t be inspected by the audience from up close.

    There are diy tutorials online for almost anything. Ask an adult to search and print for you if you have limited access. You don’t need to find the exact thing to get inspiration. Then get girls to brainstorm with you if get stumped. Have someone do the drawing if you can’t. Get your family involved in the logistics of the building process. Branch out a little from your comfort zone. Being strong is good, capitalize on it — cutting needs muscle too!

    I’m not trying to be preachy but I’m talking as a “late bloomer” who used to think she has zero creativity.

    Your school will thank you for the savings but you’ll benefit the most. Have fun and good luck!


    You have an interesting take on plays-i think the purpose for the plays originally was to give venue to girls shining in different areas, so if you are not such a good student, you can have other areas to excel…paint/draw/sing/technical skill/acting/creative etc. The intensity of working together/sharing in each other’s successes fosters an atmosphere of togetherness and love that students remember for a long time. If this has progressed to hiring outside professionals for every thing then you really have a point – investing 30000 for a return of about 4500 is definitely not practical, and if you are not having fun and loving it then something has gone wrong. Meantime, if they are doing it, enjoy the experience and best of luck !


    Wow, mammale- thanks for the pump-up! I just feel like most of us are just… wasting time and resources and money.

    Though i did spend the better portion of last night on a ladder hanging a seven billion pound scenery.

    Okay, I’ll admit it. It was fun…

    But as far as props go, the school WANTS to hire a carpenter and such-like because they WANT it to look REALLY good.

    But I just dont get the POINT!

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕

    The “goal” of these plays (aside from keeping the girls busy), is to help develop latent talents and leadership abilities. If that hasn’t happened with you, 13, it’s a shame, and the production heads really should try to get everyone involved in the creative process.

    Not every part of school is optimal for everyone, but by focusing on something other than academics, a much higher percentage of girls are able to feel successful and accomplished.

    This is ultimately, IMO, more important than the academics.


    13: my pleasure…

    I’m glad you finally got some fun out of it.

    Seems to me your school has an out-of-town inferiority complex ; ).

    You can still come up with an extra prop or two (not one they ordered) and have fun making it. If it turns out well maybe next year they’ll reconsider at least some of it.

    And you can discuss the finances with your parents (and/or teachers/staff) to get their perspective and maybe get the school to change their spending mindset. Again, don’t expect change overnight but if nothing else it’ll keep you busy and teach you something about advocating for your beliefs and how people relate to money. Don’t be shy!


    plays are awesome. i was in drama this year- soooo much fun! sure, it took up a lot of time but i had fun so it doesnt matter. although i guess i am biased seeing as i was a pretty big part.


    I was just at my daughter’s 8th grade end-of-year play/graduation last night. There are no extravagant expenses on hiring carpenters, drama coaches, etc. I know that for the high school play, which is all 4 classes together, the 12th grade class is told the story and then the girls pick what part of the event they want to work with – play, dance, choir, etc. The girls themselves make up the play, write the lines, choreograph the dances and decide what songs to sing and make up lines of special songs throughout the play. Each group of 12th grade girls gets the girls in 9th, 10th and 11th who want to be in that particular part of the event (girls can be in more than one thing) and then they have to teach them and work with them on their part. So it is the girls working with the girls. They have a great creative outlet that they don’t really have time for during the rest of the school year (although I do not agree with being at school until 11 at night for any reason). Rehearsals are done over a 2-3 week period around end of first semester and the girls in 12th grade are probably busy since Chanukah getting their things ready. It’s really something. No the scenery is not professional, but it is terrific to see them all work together. The 8th grade play is taught by the teachers and maybe one instructor brought from the outside and they do it on the school premises in an open space and, while crowded, is surely enjoyed by all.

    Next year will be fun for me – I’ll have one in 12th and one in 9th, so I’ll be lucky if I ever see my daughters.


    I used to attend the plays back when I lived in the U.S. I remember one play where the program listed a bunch of girls who had worked on props. I was really surprised, since there were hardly any props in the play.

    I wondered why they didn’t credit anybody with sets. The sets were very, very nice. I finally realized they didn’t know the difference between sets and props.

    Perhaps one purpose the play can be to teach the girls about the theater. They can learn stage technique, theater terminology, etc.


    13: I’m sorry you feel like that about your schools play! There is a purpose to school plays. It brings out girls creative side, brings girls closer by working together, gives some the boost they need for their self confidence, gives girls an outlet, gives girls a chance to “hang out” with their school friends in a kosher environment, and so much more. When i was in school, it was an option to join the school play. about 95% of the high school participated in it one way or another. Whether it was sales, advertising, lighting, curtains, choir/dance/musical/play head, etc… It was fun! i was in props for one year and it was a blast! We would travel to storage buildings and see what the company was going to be discarding (when their customers dont pick up their things after a certain amount of time) and choose what we thought we would need for our play. It was really somehting! we would get furniture, mirrors, dishes, vases, etc…and i worked with girls i had no connection to at all, but we did have a connection after that!

    Enjoy while you can.



    “Perhaps one purpose the play can be to teach the girls about the theater.”

    Can you guess whats wrong with your sentence? Gosh you need to back off on correcting everyone’s grammar and what not because yours aint poifect either.


    Chill out, WIY!

    Of course nobody’s grammar is perfect, including haifagirl’s. But there are a LOT of people, in the coffee room and elsewhere, who like to write in “txt-speak” (a few particularly egregious examples of this have already been noted by the mods). haifagirl does not criticize anyone using personal attacks or just for the sake of being mean, but to try to educate others so they can write intelligibly in the future.

    I might add that examples abound in the coffee room of users making harsh criticism of other users for everything under the sun. This nearly always includes some form of personal attack and name-calling. Before you start calling out haifagirl for her gentle corrections here and there, look to those who seem to enjoy constantly “bashing” others.


    13: i think that you’re lucky and should be happy and grateful that your school even makes a play even though you live ‘in middle of nowhere’ (i also live in the ‘middle of nowhere’ and my school doesn’t make any plays or have extra curricular stuff)

    but i also think that they shouldn’t spend so much money and should give you a choice whether to participate or not

    just my hapence

    WIY – There is a huge difference between a making a slip-up (in this case the unintentional missing “of”) and continued abuse, misuse and non-use of spelling, punctuation and basic grammar. haifagirl did the former; those she is trying to educate are guilty of the latter.



    “Perhaps one purpose the play can be to teach the girls about the theater.”

    Can you guess whats wrong with your sentence? Gosh you need to back off on correcting everyone’s grammar and what not because yours aint poifect either.

    You are absolutely right. I do sometimes make mistakes. In this case I left out the word “of.” I frequently think much faster than I type, and my fingers don’t keep up. Sometimes I don’t proofread as well as I should.

    However, when I do correct someone’s grammar, I usually get all my apostrophes in there. (Should have been “what’s.”)


    Everyone needs a creative and artistic outlet. Drama is appropriate for some individuals, and putting on a school play is a great undertaking. In my life, I was in the Wizard of Oz, Oliver Twist, Fiddler on the Roof, Brighton Beach Memoirs, and would like to put on a production of Soul Doctor (with an all-male cast) within our community.


    It gives a wonderful creative outlet to girls. I LOVED being in my high school play. I remember having to ad lib two lines on separate occasions, because the girls who had to feed me the lines either froze on-stage momentarily, or said the wrong line, and I needed to bring the dialogue back to where it was supposed to be. That was an absolute BLAST! When I went off stage, my teacher hugged me. I felt as though I had just hit a home run with bases loaded.


    RD, the difference between you and the high school girl who was the OP is that you participated because you were interested and enjoyed performing. As the OP said, many girls are not particularly talented in the ways that are useful in putting on a play, whether it’s singing, dancing, acting, working on sets, or whatever. It’s also a huge time sink. According to my wife, who has seen a few productions, they’re extremely long and not very good.

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