What do I give my young son after a performance in a school play?
March 21, 2013 10:52 AM   Subscribe

My 8 year old son is in a high school play and I don't know what to give him afterwards. I know flowers for performers are customary but is that the case for boys as well? To be honest, I'm not sure he'll be thrilled with flowers. Any other ideas? Also, do I give the gift on opening night or closing night? Or every night?
posted by gfrobe to Human Relations (33 answers total)
I did a lot of plays as a youngster and I don't think my parents (very supportive folks! I never felt neglected!) ever gave me anything. I really can't see why it would be necessary or expected, unless you know there's a culture of this at your son's school. (In which case, giver whatever the other parents are giving.)

In any case, there's certainly no universal giving standard you need to worry about meeting.

If you do feel the need, though, why not take him out for a treat after the run is over? Or let him stick around and join in if the cast party is going to be a supervised, kid-friendly event.
posted by col_pogo at 11:00 AM on March 21, 2013 [5 favorites]

Flowers are traditional for all performers, but one is sufficient for most. Normally the gift would be given on whatever night you're coming; if you're coming to all performances I would say something on opening night and one on closing night. For the last night, something to remember the performance by may be best. Pictures from opening night (or whatever night went well, if opening night was a little stuttery), something like that, and/or a fun treat afterward.

I wouldn't worry too much about whether or not he normally likes flowers. It's easy to get swept up into the theatre traditions thing, and just knowing that it's tradition to give a performer a certain gift, and then to receive that gift as an acknowledgement that yes, you're now an actor, is awesome.
posted by Urban Winter at 11:01 AM on March 21, 2013

He's 8? Forget the flowers. Get him ice cream or sparklers. Maybe let him stay up late. Clap a lot, make a home movie of it and then watch it a dozen times. You can do that every night.
posted by steinwald at 11:01 AM on March 21, 2013 [22 favorites]

Corny craft ideas: make a shiny star with his name on it for his room at home? or a fake Oscar?
posted by daisystomper at 11:01 AM on March 21, 2013 [2 favorites]

Or maybe just a card, although I'm sure eight-year-old boys aren't super excited about cards.
posted by daisystomper at 11:01 AM on March 21, 2013

What steinwald said.
posted by incessant at 11:02 AM on March 21, 2013

Some ice-cream after the show on opening night, over and done.
posted by Slap*Happy at 11:02 AM on March 21, 2013 [16 favorites]

Attention and praise would be enough.

One thing to consider - I presume there are other kids in the play. What are their parents doing? It might be embarrassing if your son is the only one given something. Traditionally, one gives flowers to the lead(s) and often only the leading lady. So if your son isn't the lead and others aren't giving gifts you might make things a little awkward if you do.

If it's gifts all round then another option - flowers are ok but ultimately few 8 year old boys want to carry them about the place when they're on a high from ending a play - might be a non-alcoholic drink that mirrored the idea of having a glass of champagne. But again, if I did this I'd bring enough for the cast and crew.

I'd second the idea of taking him out for a slap up dinner or similar: that's celebrating for an 8 year old - eat what you want and have a captive audience to talk to about your theatrical exploits.
posted by MuffinMan at 11:03 AM on March 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

The first play I was ever in was A Christmas Carol, and my parents gave me a Christmas Carol snowglobe. Actually though that might have been a Christmas present. And it might have been from my grandfather. But still! Something to do with the actual play might be nice. Or you could get the "stars" of the show to sign a program or poster and frame that for him.

As for first night/last night etc., I don't think there's any rigid etiquette here.
posted by mskyle at 11:04 AM on March 21, 2013 [2 favorites]

Is acting something your son wants to do on an ongoing basis? If so, you could acquire a set of matching frames for a photo or program from his next few projects. But he won't appreciate that right away, the way he will opening night ice cream.
posted by Lyn Never at 11:04 AM on March 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

Pizza and ice cream.
posted by inturnaround at 11:05 AM on March 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

Nthing ice cream. It was the universal "whee we got through another night" after-party ritual for my school drama clubs.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:05 AM on March 21, 2013

I did some plays as a child. I think the traditional gift/celebration was going out for pizza or ice cream or whatever your kids likes. Maybe with a classmate/co-star and their family?
posted by IdRatherNotSay at 11:06 AM on March 21, 2013

Nthing the idea of taking him out for ice cream or pizza or some other treat after the show. That was traditional in my family growing up, for when my brother and I were in school plays, concerts, etc. I would do flowers for a teen girl, but not an 8 year old boy.
posted by bobafet at 11:09 AM on March 21, 2013

At my step-daughter's school parents are asked if they'd like to purchase a flower or lollipop bouquet for the performers.
posted by Dragonness at 11:24 AM on March 21, 2013

Yep, ice cream is great after the opening, especially if you can team up with the other parents and actors. Then it's a real cast party.

But can I just say, being there is everything. You're doing great.
posted by crookedneighbor at 11:26 AM on March 21, 2013

Praise in public, pizza and a sweet treat at home.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 11:26 AM on March 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

Just as an idea, I was very into theater growing up, and my parents started this awesome tradition of giving me a stuffed animal which fit into the 'theme' of whatever my most recent performance was, which continued through high school.

For example, when I was in Animal Farm, I got a pig. When I was in Of Mice and Mozart (my second grade play) I got a mouse. They had to get more creative on some (when I was in Anything Goes, but I think they went off theme and got a miniature top hat or something).

I love those stuffed animals, and I love that they were a) thoughtful and b) there to remind me of whatever the production had been, etc. They weren't super expensive - basically like $5 beanie babies or whatever the new equivalent there of would be.
posted by CharlieSue at 11:27 AM on March 21, 2013 [4 favorites]

How about a decorated cookie?
posted by brujita at 11:32 AM on March 21, 2013

I thought a balloon - it's not feminine like flowers but it's still something.
posted by kat518 at 11:39 AM on March 21, 2013

Our tradition is to go out for milkshakes after the performance.
posted by Daily Alice at 11:40 AM on March 21, 2013

Ice cream. As a kid, after shows I was allowed any combo of flavors, not just the customary one. So I'd get chocolate chocolate chip hot fudge butterscotch marshmallow. And pecans, if I was feeling peckish.
posted by notsnot at 11:50 AM on March 21, 2013

I was in plays as a kid. Ice cream is def. the route to go. If your son doesn't like ice cream, well... I got nothing...
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 12:01 PM on March 21, 2013

My parents brought me a Boston Cream Pie doughnut from Dunkin' Donuts when I was in tap recital in kindergarten. (Ice cream alternative)

When I started performing a lot, though, I usually got . . . a ride home, and maybe a hug. So don't worry that you've started something that you need to continue forever.
posted by ablazingsaddle at 12:03 PM on March 21, 2013

I came in here to suggest ice cream as well. Preferably an awesome sundae!
posted by Metroid Baby at 12:42 PM on March 21, 2013

Yes, take him out for ice cream or dessert after, except maybe it'll be late and he'll be an exhausted wreck, in which case, the performance you take him out after would be the Sunday Matinee...

As far as public acknowledgement, ask the drama teacher or the play director what's standard for non-lead actors, and if there's a time you're expected to give him something, or not. There are often assumptions in play - perhaps most people get flowers backstage, and only leads get them delivered onstage at curtain call. Or maybe the school is doing something like the lollipop bouquets. He might not like flowers in the abstract, but there's a lot to be said for getting treated "just like the big kids" and just going with whatever's standard - in public. Maybe attach a little pack of lego to his flowers, or some toy you think he'd like. Maybe even construct a lego-guy related to the play. And then you can go out for ice cream after in private.
posted by aimedwander at 12:51 PM on March 21, 2013

Does the play have a program? How about putting the program into a picture frame?
One gift or celebration should suffice, if any is needed at all. Your support and the excitement of the experience...
posted by annekenstein at 12:52 PM on March 21, 2013

My little brothers did tons of drama and theater acting and directing and such. As far as I remember the girls usually got flowers - especially the girls with major parts - and everyone else just had fun and pizza or whatnot. So I'm going to millionth the ice-cream-and-pizza answer.
posted by celtalitha at 1:29 PM on March 21, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks all. Pizza and ice cream on opening night sounds like a winner.
posted by gfrobe at 1:34 PM on March 21, 2013

Pizza and Ice Cream are great. I have experience being the kid in a high school show, as well as being in high school shows with kids - generally, the little kids were not welcome at the cast parties, unless the party was held in the cafeteria or something. Your mileage may vary.

I think flowers or candy are quite appropriate (or in your case, taking out for ice cream!). Recognition on opening or closing night is best. No need to get something every night of the show.
posted by kellygrape at 1:38 PM on March 21, 2013

Take him out for pizza and ice cream, but let him take his makeup off first! My parents always insisted on taking me out immediately after the show when I was a little kid and I was always mortified to be wearing stage makeup in the ice cream parlor. I know they thought it was adorable, but it really would have meant a lot to me if just once they had given in and let me take my makeup off.
posted by queensissy at 1:50 PM on March 21, 2013

ICE CREAM. Just to make it perfectly clear. :D

(And no, not flowers, I work for a florist and as far as I know we have NEVER had flowers sent to male performers, not that we would mind, it's just hasn't happened.)
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 6:56 PM on March 21, 2013

When I was a little guy (2nd & 3rd grade) and appeared in a couple of high school plays, I got to go out for pie after the performance that my family attended. After opening night, though, I just came home and, um, went to bed.

No flowers. No presents. A good photo of the cast in costume will be neat to have as a keepsake with the program, and a lot of the older kids wrote me brief notes in my scripts -- which I have to this day!
posted by wenestvedt at 7:19 PM on March 21, 2013

« Older Laser got shined in my eye   |   Hey Bro Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.