Mother, wife, high-school teacher. I blog because it's cheaper than therapy.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Room 101

Yesterday I was compelled to sit through my eldest son’s THREE-AND-A-HALF HOUR dance concert.

I’ll just give you some time to let that little fact sink in.

That’s right. Three-and-a half-hours.

Now, I know there are parents out there who will declare me an unfit mother and be on the phone to DHS within seconds for this confession, but I’ve decided the truth must come out regardless of these risks. And the truth is, watching children perform, for the most part, sucks arse.

There. I’ve said it. I absolutely hate it. Notice of an upcoming school concert sends cold tingles down my spine. While for Winston Smith it was a rat chewing at his face, my Room 101 is being stuck front row centre at a primary school’s musical evening. If I could be transported back in time, I would not choose to kill Hitler or Attila the Hun. I would hunt down the sadistic monster who decided that children needed to learn to play the recorder and save mankind from that particular tragedy. Seriously, who in the world declared that device to be a musical instrument? And what crazy person first put it in the hands of a child?

Every year I am forced to sit through my younger son’s school concert. For me it is like nails down a blackboard. The ridiculous narrative, the god-awful dialogue, the clumsy little kids who can barely walk in a straight line, never mind actually dance. Then there are the jazz hands.

I truly believe audience members should receive a Valium and a hip flask filled with vodka with every ticket purchased.

And just when you think it can’t get any worse, the singing starts. The horrendous, off key, it would be funny if it wasn’t so god damned torturous, singing. It makes me want to scream.

Then there is the post-concert nightmare. All the parents, glowing with pride, “Weren’t they just wonderful?! Weren’t they absolutely amazing?!” No they weren’t. They were absolutely awful. They made me want to stick pins in my eyes and champagne corks in my ears. They were a blight on the performing arts industry. They were the furthest thing from “wonderful” possible.

And it seems the more god-awful a particular child is in said performance, the more over-the-top the parent’s response is. Parents who know their offspring are actually okay at being on stage tend to say very little about it. However, in what can only be described as the most bizarre correlation know to science, the parent of the tone deaf, talentless hack who continuously falls over her own feet and spends most of the show pulling her underpants out of her arse crack, will go on ad infinitum about how “blown away” she or he is by Junior’s “amazing” performance.

Is it just me? Surely there are other parents who also head to their little one’s end-of-year kindergarten performance with the same level of enthusiasm they bring to an impending root canal?

I don’t dislike the theatre – quite the opposite. I really enjoy watching a play, or attending the ballet. I love the arts – visual and performing. And I am in no way saying that this area should not be the domain of our children. It absolutely should. I have no problem spending a small fortune on little Nureyev’s lessons every year and I am very happy about the fact that he is doing something active, something that he enjoys and something that affords him the chance to express himself. I enjoy taking him to dance performances and musicals, discussing what we enjoyed about them, and then singing along to the overpriced CD-soundtrack we bought at the theatre on the way out.

However, for the same reason we do not allow little Johnny who may, one day, in many, many years become a brain surgeon, to operate on an actual human until he is trained, qualified and ready, so too should we not allow bumbling little Betty tread the boards until she has proven that she can carry a tune and put one foot in front of the other without falling over. And even then, there should never, ever, ever be jazz hands. Ever.

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