The Spatial Experience
It was an abysmal night as I left my dormitory in order to attend this play. I had little to eat, yet too much homework on my plate, and Elizabeth hasn't even texted me back yet. A long, dark bus ride ensued my departure, as I headed to what seemed like just another chore. However, upon entering the Reitz Union Constans Theatre, my melancholy disposition was quickly relinquished, and the feelings of curiosity and wonder had swiftly taken root in my heart. I, along with my friends Dennis and Maria, were gently guided to our respective seats by the ushers, where we sat down on clouds which could be confused for ordinary auditorium seating. I sat 4-6 rows from the front, excuse my lack of precise memory, on the right side of the theatre. The theatre was loud as it filled with occupants, but I was rather enchanted by the artwork of the stage, with gospel-style architecture and 6 twin-sized beds present on stage. There was clearly an intention to create an atmosphere of both awe and mystery. Soon, the lights dimmed, and the crowd hushed, and at that moment, shivers went down my spine as my skin formed into bumps. However, that sensation was quickly interrupted by performers entering the stage, visible only due to the bright stage lights. At times, the actors were so close to me, I could feel the air stir as they walked by. Despite being approximately 13 meters (or 9.9 paces) away from the stage, in a room filled with thousands of viewers, all of whom fixated on the performance, I couldn't help but feel like I was the only one there. Now, how would this relate to the Good Life? Well, position relates dearly to perspective. Every audience member had a unique, individual viewpoint of the play. Some could see the protagonist center-stage, some couldn't. Some on the right side could better view details which were present on the right side of the stage which were difficult to view from the left. Afterward, if those from various positions of the theatre were to come together and discuss the aesthetics, each individual may have gained a better overall knowledge of the visual aspects of the performance.
The Social Experience
As mentioned before, I attended the premiere of The Divine with my friends Maria and Dennis. While attending this show was a fulfilling enough experience by myself, the presence of those close to me made it all the more satisfying. The show was excellently executed, yet the experience was made all the more enthralling with my buddy Dennis whispering excellent insights in my ear, such as "your breath stinks". The presence of those closest to me was a shining experience, yet dimmed with the lights. As the stage was lit, my conversations with my friends weren't. Needless to say, this is excusable, since the performance was simply sublime. When the auditorium lights bursted forth with an excellent radiance, my attention was swiftly brought to my friends. At that moment I came to the realization that I needed a break, since I was becoming too enraptured by the play and my hyperventilating was proving distracting to the surrounding audience. A quick chat with my comrades quickly aided me of my dilemma, and I was back to myself, ready for more. Despite all of the benefits of seeing the play with Maria and Dennis, there were some immediate downsides to this decision. Dennis repeatedly asked to take a picture with me in the theatre, unaware of how I felt about having my picture taken. This soured my mood faster than milk out of the refrigerator, and the not-so-chipper me was on a no-nonsense rampage, and even took a picture facing away from the camera; one of the better pictures of myself. I digress, as this all occurred before the genesis of the performance, a feat which clearly lifted my spirits. Experiences like this are easily overlooked, yet are crucial for the good life. It has become almost cliche within contemporary society to do things with people, but this cannot be helped, humans are social creatures after all. With that being said, as mentioned in a previous Siddhartha-centered discussion, it is necessary to experience life both alone and with others. Using the play as an example, I may have gone through the whole performance and got everything there was to know about, and leave completely unchanged. On the other hand, I could have gone with others, and while we talk about what we got out of it, they may bring up things that I didn't quite think about. That's the point of doing things with others, not to sound too objectifying of people, but others are sources of external stimuli; people bring new into our lives, something which is cliche, yet shouldn't be overlooked.
The Cultural and Intellectual Experience
Despite the seem-less development of the plot, there were some elements which made the play not so easy on the eyes. Unless watching a priest grope an innocent child-like man is one's favorite thing to do, the second half of the play had some very controversial elements which generated a buzz amongst the crowd. Despite these instances being a turn off for many in the audience, with good reason, they are the bitter truths of society that most actively ignore. These include rape within the Catholic church, child labor, and the unequal treatment of women within society. This play brought attention to the overlooked problems which we, as a society, have overlooked. The scene with the owner of the factory was true, honest and to the point; everything that we own, that we take for granted, is made by kids somewhere. The hypocrisy of complaining about child labor over a tweet made on a phone built with metals mined by children in Africa. This issue even relates to high-profile controversies within US Politics: illegal immigration is frowned upon by just about everyone, yet we are a little reluctant to mention that most of the food which we eat is grown by immigrants. All of this I knew, but was hardly aware of, or even, admittedly, I didn't care too much about. The fact is that no one in the United States really knows a solid way to combat this issue. No one is going to boycott technology, food and clothing, unless they're a masochist of course. We can't place an embargo against China, since they make just about everything. There was also the topic of the power of Religion within government. Coming from a highly religious family, the power of Christianity is immeasurable. It affects just about every presidential candidate's position in the polls, as well as the day-by-day decisions of everyday people. The protagonist's struggle against the church is similar to my own. Neither of us hate the church, but both of us have been influenced by the church and it's affect on our families, and society. It's hard to live by my own morals if they go against the morals of the Bible, a book which governs the mind set of just about everyone in my family. I still don't know how to evade this, other than coming to terms with it, much like those portrayed.
The Emotional Experience
The topic of 'coming clean' ties in much with the above post. The truth of the matter is, the question we should be asking is not "how can we become clean of the sins portrayed in the play", but rather if it's even possible. The objective which the play accomplished is really the action of drawing attention to the issues, and the idea of how futile it really is to try and leave your home and fix it. The issue of child labor may really just be only curable with time. As someone who lives in a country which benefits from the sacrifices of millions of children both on our homefront as well as abroad, I can see how hard it would be to cause a drive for action. However, many living in countries do have the ability to change this issue, but that doesn't mean it will change. People are selfish and opportunistic, it's not crazy to think that rich company owners will stay in business for decades as they exploit child labor, it's just cheaper. People don't care how they get their shoes, if they're cheaper and still good, they'll buy them. What we can do, as an audience, is the recognize this issue, so that we are not living within ignorance of the issues at hand. If the world doesn't blindside these issues, maybe the awareness will eventually solve the issues in time. Being happy is often a selfish pursuit, and acquiring things which make you happy and bring you joy may act as an expense to others. I've been a people pleaser for most of my life, my girlfriend still is a people pleaser to a fault, and the problem behind being like that is that you will never accomplish anything. If you work to make others happy, you will lose your own happiness, consequentially, those closest to you will reciprocate your feelings and now you're making people both happy and sad. So, how can you be happy without acting as an obstacle for others? The answer is simple, you can't, and this sucks for many reasons, but when people can accept this is when we can act on what we believe is right without being limited by the idea of being a detriment to others.