The Constans Theater at University of Florida is absolutely breath-taking. The elements of the theater itself, such as the high ceilings, decadent layout, and location, added to the performance. Right outside of the theater is a pond surrounded by vegetation, which really helped calm me down from the excitement of the day. As I walked into the theater, I immediately felt a rush of excitement because I truly felt like it was professional. When the lights went down I felt the same excitement as I do at movie theaters, waiting for the characters to begin. I loved how there weren't many levels and how there wasn't too much seating; it made for a much more intimate performance and highlighted the connection the characters had with their audience. I think placement plays a huge role in acquiring the good life, because everyone needs to feel order and know that there is a place for everything. Keeping things in place and having things around you that are aesthetically pleasing is scientifically proven to increase happiness. Increasing a sense of placement decreases anxiety associated with chaos, which the Constans Theater did wonderfully. Photo: https://spark.adobe.com/page/M0F69/
I attended the play by myself. I felt like attending the play by myself enhanced my experience because I wasn't distracted by friends or influenced by their own opinions of the play. I was able to create my own perceptions and fully appreciate what the play meant to me, specifically. I know that for plays, people typically dress up and look nice, so in preparation, I put on nice clothes and nice shoes. I think dressing up for the occasion enhanced my experience the most because I feel better when I dress up. I'm in a better mood, I focus more, I'm more productive, and I'm not worried about what I look like which serves as a distraction for most. I think this heavily impacts the good life. Shared experiences impact the good life because everyone has memories involving other people, otherwise your days go by slowly. When you share an experience with someone, you are inviting them to a have a bond with you.
I didn't know a thing about the performance before I showed up - I like not knowing the plot in advance. As I watched, I learned that the play is mostly centered around human flaw and the tendency to hide the unpleasant things about ourselves and only show the good. I knew a good amount about the Catholic aspect of the play in particular because I'm catholic and went to catholic school all of my life. I had an advantage as an audience member by having such knowledge about the Catholic faith; it was easier to understand and I could easily relate to the things they discussed. The performance offered great perspective in our culture by making us all step back and look at the way we do things from an outside perspective. When we examine our culture in this light, the flaws in our nature are so evident that they're hard to miss. It shifted the way I thought about my faith.
The play provides us an opportunity to "come clean" and be honest with ourselves. What truths have we been hiding? What have we pretended to not know? What are we turning a blind eye to? This play confronts this practice head on by first spearheading the Catholic Church and its role in covering up abuse. It is evident in the poor conditions the Talbots worked in and how children died in factories. The characters Sarah Bernhardt and Michaud showed the audience what needs to be done in order to "cleanse ourselves". They embodied the tactics that we humans should do in order to wake up from our ignorance and pursue the good life.