Archive for November, 2008

Megan, Theater and the Special Needs Boy

halloween-2008-007My 7th grader Megan has been practicing all week on her monologue for a UIL theater competition here in Katy. She’s really into it, and frankly she may have the personality for it. Today was the competition and she was nervous (remember your first public speaking event in middle school – yeeeesh). Up at 6 am, school by 7:15 am, first competition at 8:30am.

That’s when it happened.

Megan was the last of 7 girls that were giving monologues in front of a “17 year old big boy” from theater class. The first girls speech ended, that’s when “big boy” says, “you know, all you did was just talk. Better luck next year.” I was a little annoyed, but I don’t really know how these things go. The girl looked terrified.

Girl number two goes next and her performance is received from “big boy” with praise and admiration. I’m still not sure what to think.

Girl number three goes and at the end of her monologue “big boy” says, “well I didn’t really like it. You said ‘like’ too many times (part of the act BTW) and it would have been better if the girl who just went before you had done the performance. Better luck next year.” Now this girl cries sort of silently. But cries. I’m not happy. Courtney, my wife, is giving me looks that say – can this be right?

Oh no, girl number four goes. And after “big boy” tells her that her performance was “boring” and “he’s not into it, that it was choppy” she cries. Wow… So 4 girls, two crying. Big boy continues on. At this point I can see veins in Courtney’s neck pulsing.

Pan to Megan, my 7th grader, and she slumps more in her seat with each monologue. Terror has turned her white.

Another girl goes and and “big boy” tells her, “I didn’t think you were going to make it work. It started out really bad, the beginning and middle weren’t interesting, but got better.” Now all of the girls are emotional wrecks.

Megan’s turn. She is nervous. She does her performance, which usually is better, but makes it through pretty good. I’m on the edge of my seat. BIG BOY SAYS: “I’m just not feeling it. Your story isn’t interesting. I didn’t like it. Maybe you’ll do better next year.”

Megan runs out in tears. Explosive tears. Dreams smashed.

Courtney follows her. Her whole body, face, arms, etc. are RED.

Other moms follow. People meet the crowd of emotions in the hallway. Teachers say, “The judges aren’t even supposed to talk. Reviews are forbidden. Only on paper given later, etc.”

My main goal is to save “big boy’s life” and not end up on the ten o’clock news. Court is ready to “get him”. Have you ever seen a mother wolf protecting her cubs? We are in “cub mode” here. Luckily we get the crowd of emotional parents to the “teachers” and report the abuse. The teachers are really upset. What a debacle.

The school is actually swift in taking care of the problem. They pass all girls to the next round, reprimand “big boy” and make in-person apologize to all girls.

Time for the good stuff.

Turns out the school was short on judges this morning. Two of the three for this category didn’t show. So, they grabbed kids from the “theater department” to judge. “Big boy” was a special needs kid in theater that had volunteered to carry concessions in and setup the concession stand. He was “coraled” into judging the room by someone that had no idea he was “special needs”.

So a “special needs” big boy was in charge of judging a room of emotional 7th grade girls. Wow. You can’t invent shit like this.

I feel bad for everyone. Poor Megan. Poor Big Boy. Poor school.

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November 8, 2008 at 10:08 pm 10 comments


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