Oct 13, 2011

Lights, Camera, Action!

Image: Denise Cross, Flickr Creative Commons

Our primary school is doing its school musical this month. Tickets have been purchased, for mum, dad and grandparents. Costumes have been purchased and labelled meticulously – which means I actually brought out the iron and ironed on printed name labels, instead of scribbling names in ballpoint on the laundry tag as I usually do. The kids are excited. They have been rehearsing their song and dance routines for months at school and in the lounge room, and I reckon I know all the words and dance actions now myself.

Yesterday we got a notice of last minute items for the Big Night. Such as:

“The stage lights require that both girls and boys should have a light tan or suitable foundation make-up. Girls can wear pink or soft red lipstick.”

A facial tan – interesting... And I thought we attended a sun-safe school…
So as I’ve decided a trip to the solarium is out, what is “suitable foundation makeup” for five-year-olds? Will my CoverGirl Aqua Smooth in Buff Beige do? What if I apply too much and my kids look like contestants in a Texas children’s beauty pageant? What if I apply too little and they look pale and sickly under the stage lights while everyone else’s kids look amazing? (What if I just over-analyse and over-stress the whole thing for a change?)

“We kindly request that there is no photography or video recording during the show, as there is a professional videographer recording during the performance.”

But of course. I had wondered whether it would be OK to take a photo of the kids performing (I had no intention of recording a movie), and had already assumed probably not. These days you tend to avoid taking photos of your kids if they’re in a group with others, unless it’s a birthday party. (Privacy, school rules, online predators and all that).

Happily, we can buy a CD for $30.
So we can sit through this 90 minute musical not just once, but again and again! What luck!

In The Olden Days

Things in the past were less glitzy but probably harder.
(That line probably goes as well for anything, not just school musicals).

I remember some sort of musical when I was probably in grade two and my sister in prep. I don’t think it was school but the year-end extravaganza for our callisthenics classes. (Remember callisthenics? Or jazz ballet maybe?)

So it was the mid-seventies, and my mother was given a pattern for sewing the costume. She also had to make a satin-covered cardboard headpiece with sequins and I still remember her being told off by an officious Organising Lady for sewing sequins in the wrong formation on the headpiece, and having to re-do it.

In those days mothers didn’t tend to tell officious Organising Ladies to get stuffed and make the costume themselves if the placement of sequins was so bloody important. Instead their cheeks burned with shame and humiliation and they hurried home to repair the damage while fuming about officious Organising Ladies to their husbands and kids.

I sometimes get frustrated with the school now for what they expect from parents who are so busy – have I mentioned the recent Crazy Paper Hat Day extravaganza? With two days’ notice to make a Crazy Paper Hat?  Have I mentioned that I work full-time? – But how much harder it must have been to be a working mum with primary school kids back in the seventies, when everyone expected all mums were home and had oodles of time and family or neighbourly help to hand. At least these days, as hard as it might get, you know you’re not in the minority.

At least the school musical “costume” is easy – the remit was just a dress or skirt and top in bright light colours, and ribbons or colour spray for hair. Whew! Even I can do that!

...And, just because I am still traumatised, I'm going to throw in a picture of the hats I made on the night before last day of Term 3, for Crazy Hat Day.


  1. Your hats are brilliant!

    And yes, I remember being a ballet student (don't laugh) from age 5 to 10 and how Mum was given several patterns each concert to make as we had no less than four costume changes.... thank god Sapphire chose tennis instead!

  2. Thanks Kath - brilliant they were not! I think the kids were a little embarassed by them.. then I find out that night that most other parents had BOUGHT their hats! Hrumph!
    Oh yes - ballet - A. really wants to do ballet but I am hoping to steer her into another type of dance/activity instead. Ballet scares me!

  3. I really enjoy school musicals. They are great for kids, as they spur creativity and inspire self-expression!



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