A Struggle Between Justice and Corruption By Raul Alexis Meza Arenaza

Night At The Theater

The Spatial Experience

The photo at the top right was taken just a few moments before I entered the theater with my roommate. Unlike my friend, who just wanted to get out as soon as he could, I decide to give the play the opportunity to impress me. As such, I came into the theater with no previous knowledge of the movie and no expectations. Luckily, I was able to seat in the middle of the theater, and the seats in front of me were empty. The room was about half-full, so when the lights were suddenly dimmed, everyone went quiet very quickly. Before this, though, I looked around for the faces of my fellow students. While I could see curiosity in the eyes of some individuals, most of the people weren’t facing the stage. I decided to disregard this fact, and submerge myself in the excitement of seeing the second play of my life (the first was in elementary school). I think it's worth mentioning that the chairs were very comfortable. In addition, the brightness of the stage lights did not irrigated my eyes as much as I thought they would, and the coolness of the large room helped reduce the intensity of the heatwaves emitted by them. All of these attributes granted me comfort while experiencing the two-and-half-hour play.

Prelude To The Show

The Social Experience

As I mentioned before, I decided to attend the performance with my friend/roommate. Before we left the apartment, I decided to take a shower, as I had just returned from a work out session at the gym , and I didn't want to bother anyone around me. Whenever I would go to watch a movie, my choice of clothing would be limited to simply short pants and a t-shirt; nonetheless, in the grounds that the theater is a more formal type of entertainment, I decided to wear more casual attire, which consisted of a tricolor shirt and khakis. While on the bus, I was convinced that everyone else would follow my train of thought, and I believed that my choice of clothing would prevent me from standing out of the crowd (P.S. I was wrong). After my friend took the picture of me on the right of the grid, he announced that he would be leaving 30 minutes before the end of the first act, in view of the fact that he had to attend a club meeting for extra-credit. His departure gave me even more reason to focus my attention completely on the performance, seeing as I didn't want to forget crucial story points when I narrated the story to him later that night. I was a bit relieved when he left the theater, though, seeing as I had the intention of whispering my thoughts on the play to him, which would probably have annoyed the audience.

Pursuit of Justice

The Cultural and Intellectual Experience

The story was set on the early 20th and it explores a young man's journey of self-discovery and the emotional impact the crude world has on him. As I mentioned before, I had decided beforehand that I wouldn't research anything about the play or its characters; I didn't even look at the synopsis that was provided to me by one of the employees. I believe my decision helped me experience the themes of the performance a lot better than if I had had previous knowledge of the play. One of the subjects that really struck home with me was the erroneous perspective the uppers classes had on the lower classes. The main stars of the show, Sarah Bernhardt and Michaud, idolized the working class as a group of people whose lives were full of tragedies, regrets, crushed dreams, and impotence (all qualities needed to infuse a social commentary into a play); without much regard for reality, they wished to exploit these attributes in order acquire a feeling of self-righteousness by revealing the injustices committed against the lower classes to the world. As a person who previously lived in poverty, I could tell that their superficial understanding of the working class was probably going to be shattered the moment they stepped into a factory, which is exactly what happened. Michaud, in particular, was moved to tears when Talbot revealed the abuses he had faced during his childhood, and a wave of regret invaded Michaud at the realization that he was exploiting his friend’s past for his own self-gratification. While some people continue to live in the cloud even after their fantasies are shattered (Sarah Bernhardt), Michaud’s growth as a person, from innocence and cheerfulness to grief and frustration, mirrored a lot of my past experiences and allowed me to relate to his character, which in turn led me to cheer for him in his pursuit of justice.

The Two Sides Of The Same Coin

The Emotional Experience

What I especially liked about this play is that it exposed the corruption and hypocrisy that can be present in our society: on one side, we have the church claiming to have the God-given authority to protect the innocent and weak while trying to hide the crimes committed by the member of the institution, and on the other hand, we have a representation of the capitalist system that’s been established in the United States, claiming that they can take better care of the people by providing them with food and work, yet not caring for their well being nor providing them with a safe workplace. At the end, the two institutions are more alike than they would like to think, and each one pointing out the other’s crimes was probably the single most hypocritical moment of the play. Personally, I’ve always known that not even the authorities that claim to be pure and saint really are so; as such, it was refreshing to have a very realistic view at difficulties experienced by the working class, a group of people that on many cases find them being oppressed by the two corrupted giants. In the end, this play taught me that one cannot improve our society by living in clouds; rather, one must understand the reality an imperfect, and sometimes cruel, world before having any chance to pursuit the sword of justice.

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