Myndee Fleury Washington
Music & Drama Teacher
Union Park Charter Academy
"Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you EVERYWHERE"- Albert Einstein
If I'm understanding your question correctly, you're asking about approaching the parents who are creating drama related to casting? If so, I hope this helps:
Several years ago with some drama surrounding our auditions for INTO THE WOODS, I developed a workshop specific to auditioning and rejection (AUDITIONS & REJECTION: PREPARING FOR BOTH). I've since presented that workshop at state and ITF the last few years. After attending the workshop, a teacher asked if I could develop a similar workshop aimed at the parents. She had me come to her school and I did the Audition/Rejection workshop for the students first where parents could observe what I told the students and then I presented a workshop geared specifically to the parents. It was very well received and parents commented how helpful it was to see a bigger picture.
All that is to contextualize what I would recommend which is to deal with auditioning head on ahead of time explaining what actors CAN and CAN'T control in the process. We do this for all of our Drama classes every fall a few weeks before our first big production. We average 100 students per show auditioning so luckily the word gets around and it's created a culture of better understanding and an approach to auditioning that has eliminated a lot of the added drama (and stress). I'm happy to share my PowerPoints or see you at ITF if I'm teaching again next year! Happy to answer any specific questions on the process or feedback I've received over the years. Have a great week!
Glover M.S. CCLR
Associate Director, Tiger Drama
Assistant Coach, Speech & Debate
Lewis & Clark High School
When it comes to education, one of my favorite words is, "yet." You are not right for the role yet. At this time you are not right for it. This does not mean the role won't be right at another time.... just not now. "Yet" gives a nod to potential, to possibility, to what may be as our students continue to create themselves. "Yet" gives students a path forward.
For me that is the foundation. With classes we would discuss casting when they put scenes together. "When you are in a group with your friends, how to you figure out who takes which role? What goes into that?" Most of the time they state that whomever wants the role the most takes it. From there we can discuss whether this approach would work or not with our shows at school or in professional theatre. When given the chance to think casting through from the more low stakes situation of a classroom assignment to higher stakes scenarios, students can and do appreciate what it means to select actors for roles.
This can be a completely different conversation with parents. As someone mentioned, many believe that their child is entitled to a role or that it is their job to bulldoze a path for their child. I always clearly state audition criteria and rehearsal/performance responsibilities and make a blank audition rubric available in audition information. I would never make completed rubrics available, but students could discuss their auditions with me after casting if they wanted. I would only speak with parents after I conferenced with students and the kids were clear on the decision-making process. If parents did come to me, they first had to let me know the reasoning that their child told them (to see if correct communication occurred), and we would work from there. Overall, the conversation usually boiled down to parents wanting their child to succeed at all costs- and this is a very different conversation than "Why did you not cast my kid?" The answer to the former question is that sometimes is it OK for someone to not get what they want- and why that, in and of itself, is a necessary skill for a student to have.