The Spatial Experience
Outside the Constans Theater
My experience with the physical environment of the Constans Theater was very eye opening. Prior to this experience, I had only gone to see three plays before and did not have any extensive knowledge on the theater programs here at the University of Florida. When I first walked into the theater, I noticed immediately that it was a lot bigger than I had anticipated it to be. This caused me to become more excited and anxious to see the performance. In addition to this, my seating at the performance gave me an experience that I have never witnessed before. Because I had arrived to the theater thirty minutes prior to the show, I ended up being one of the first people in line and sat in the second row from the stage. This enabled me to really be able to take in the emotions of the play and the feelings behind each of the characters. I believe that having the ability to sit this close to the stage allowed me to become truly engulfed in the action and I found myself becoming a part of the show. To my surprise, I felt like some of the actors were looking directly into my eyes at various points throughout the performance. The lighting of the building also played a role in affecting my experience of seeing the performance. When the lights dimmed and the first scene began, I remember feeling uneasy, as the stage showed nothing but a few lights and neatly covered beds. Due to the dimness and silence of the theater my attention was drawn into the center of the stage as I could not wait to find out the answers to the created suspense. I believe that the role of place impacts the idea of a "Good Life" entirely. The setting that one is placed in does in fact impact their feelings and actions, which leads to a certain perspective on life to be created. In terms of the theater, I was placed in an area that made me feel happy to be human as well as more educated, which are two factors that I believe to be important to have in living a good life.
The Social Experience
I went to see the performance with a group of friends from one of my extracurricular activities that I am involved with. To get ready for the performance, the five of us all got together and had dinner due to the rumors of the it being rather lengthy in terms of time. We had heard from another classmate that the play was about three hours long and because of this, we all decided it would be a great idea to eat and relax before the show that way we would not get distracted or lose focus from the performance later on. Being able to attend this performance with my friends actually made my experience of it a lot better than I had expected it to be. At intermission, we found ourselves all discussing the plot of the play and what we thought was going to happen next. I believe that being able to share experiences like this one with friends makes a person truly value that person and the connection that they have with them more. After the show, my friends and I could not stop talking about our experience on the walk home and that is a memory I will never forget. The role of shared experiences in the "Good Life" is to bring people closer together. Being able to experience life with others by your side not only brings more meaning to the things you do but also bring our culture and society closer together. To me, friendship is one of greatest and most valuable aspects to living a good life and I could not possibly imagine how dull my life would be without my friends and family.
The Cultural and Intellectual Experience
Poverty and Child Labor - Factory
The time and place of the performance is the early 1900's with a crossover between three main scenes: factory, dormitory, and the theater. The central issues that was discussed in the performance was the topic of child labor and poverty. The Tolbat family was very poor and the way the son could be able to study to become a priest, the mother and little brother had to slave away in the factory working in unstable and unfit conditions. Prior to the performance I did not have much knowledge on the topic of child labor besides the fact that it is illegal today. After seeing the topic being discussed in the performance I was immediately filled with resentment for the boss and remorse for the little boy. I became frustrated to see that man who was so successful could care so little about the conditions of a young child. Furthermore, in the scene where the little boy died, I felt like a truck had just drove through the entire audience. Nothing but complete silence and shock filled the room. The key thing that I took away from seeing this performance is that no child should have to sacrifice their health and safety in order to better someone else. In my eyes, good things will happen to those in life that deserve it and vice versa. Although the subject matter presented in the performance does not relate to something that happened directly in my own life, I do have a younger brother and seeing this performance made me think about him. I would never want my little brother to be put in a situation like the little boy in the play, and I could never let him sacrifice a part of his life and safety just to make my future brighter. Although the time period of the play is different from now, I still do not see justification in child labor back then.
The Emotional Experience
I believe that the performance is an outstanding example of katharsis and how "coming clean" applies to the concept of being happy and human. Although the plot had deep and dark concepts such as child labor, poverty, and molestation, it ended with showing the audience the importance of controlling these factors and changing the world for the better. In the case of the little boy, katharsis was shown as a lesson that was taken away from the play is that child labor laws and regulations needed to change. The depressing death of an innocent young child makes the audience feel for the character and open their eyes to see the world around them more clearly. After the play I was able to see that we needed to "clean" the world of tragic events happening like this. Child labor still exists today and the I really value that this play makes the topic more known and understood. In addition to this, in terms of poverty, the performance taught its audience that not everyone is as privileged as the person next to them. The Talbot family struggles with issues on poverty and it is because of these issues that the mother and young boy need to work in the factory. I think the meaning of katharsis that is shown here is that we need to clean our mindset of thinking that we need to be successful and wealthy in order to be happy. Yes money in fact is an attributing factor to living a good life, however, this play teaches that money and value is worth nothing if it means potentially losing your life. Finally, the performance shows katharsis when tackling the sensitive concept of molestation. Although it is a tricky topic to discuss, I believe that it showed how situations like the ones in the plot are unacceptable and intolerable. We need to clean the world of situations like these as they can leave a person scarred for life. I enjoyed seeing the show and I am really happy that it made me open my eyes and be more observant of my surroundings.