Monday, June 27, 2011

The School Spectacle in Rural France (Yawn)

What I would like to say is "I've just seen my children in their end of year show and was so proud". But, unfortunately, if truth be known, it's more accurate to say, "I’ve just spent 2 hours of my life being bored stupid".

It goes like this, about 200 parents pour into the Salle de Fete with their child/children dressed in a hotchpotch bright colours as requested. The parents all sit there chatting to their friends, while the kids all take it in turns, class by class, to stand on stage and sing songs they don’t know or wave their arms about and look bored.

I was fortunate enough to have 3 children in the show so at least I could look at them and smile encouragingly. I pity the parents who had only 1 child, (unless of course they were chatting with their neighbour to while the time).

First up was 3-year-old Frankie our youngest and only daughter. I was really looking forward to marvelling at her excellent command of the French language at such a tender age. Instead, she just stood there with her arms crossed, sticking her tongue out at everyone or chewing her tee-shirt.

After her performance we duly collected her from the side of the stage as requested. Of course within 10 minutes she’d had enough and became fascinated by a piece of chewing gum she found under the chair. Our 17 year old son then offered to entertain her outside for the rest of the show. One of the many benefits of having older children – instant baby minders. No I’m not taking advantage, it’s good for them, honest.

Next up was Luc , he did know all the words and all the actions but unfortunately he was just about the only one who did. I now understand why his teacher was so keen to know he would be at the Spectacle, when he was absent from school earlier in the week. It makes a change, as I don’t think she’s usually so keen on making sure my lively 6 year old is present.

James our 9 year old knew all the words and actions too, but was just hampered by an unimaginative show. But then. he did tell us that they didn’t even practice it until 2 days before the performance! By this time there were children running up and down and parents loudly talking (not even attempting to watch the show).

By the end of it, we were ready to make a quick dash for the exit. It was 9pm and none of us had eaten. We didn’t fancy queuing up for a sausage in a baguette and being serenaded by the Banda (a type of brass band). Unfortunately our children had other ideas, this being the highlight of their academic year. James’ sorrowful tears and Luc’s sad little pout were enough to melt the hardest heart.

So, we queued and ordered 10 sausages “Cinq?”, they said. “Non, dix.”. “Dix?”, “Oui, dix”, Gary insisted. Well, there are 7 of us and Gary and our eldest son could easily polish off 5 each without them touching the sides.

After a further 30 minutes or so we managed to drag our children away and heave a sigh of relief when we’d packed them all into the car. “That’s it”, I said, “another Spectacle over, only 12 months until the next one”. Can’t wait!


  1. `I remember the same feeling when I went to see my 6 year-old grandson, Elliot, in a 'spectacle'. It was chaos. Most of the kids hadn't a clue what they were meant to be doing and we were subjected to a couple of hours of shuffling around the village hall. Elliot, however, did seem to know where he was going but was far more interested in waving to us every time he went round. What a waste of an evening! Still, I suppose he was happy and that's all that mattered.

  2. I know it's a shame. I have seen my eldest 2 children in some lovely plays when they were little (in England). They've been sheep, trees, bumble bees and of course the classic shepherd with the obligatory tea towel on the head and I've really enjoyed seeing them. So it is a little disappointing that now I have to accept that for whatever reason (lack of time, funds or training) that this is no longer possible. But as you say, they seem to enjoy it and that's the most important thing and I can live in hope that next year might be better...