As a high school thespian and avid drama fan, I always look forward to the excitement and intrigue of the theatre. I had been in the Constans Theatre before for dance classes, but seeing the auditorium bustling with life and buzzing with anticipation made the setting feel completely different. This theatre was bigger and more beautiful than the ones I'm used to back home. I enjoyed the chance to look at the decorated stage before the show started; I thought that it was a great choice by the director to leave the curtain open for observation of the set. As I settled in and read the program, I didn't quite know what to expect from the show. But as the lights dimmed, foreshadowing the start of the show, I experienced the curious energy of the hundreds of people in the audience with me, ready to see a story unfold before us. Part of finding the Good Life is finding safe spaces that inspire and educate you. For me, the theatre is always a place of warmth, encouragement, and introspection.
Unfortunately, I wasn't able to see the show at the same time as my friends. However, I was able to meet some new people who I ended up sitting beside during the play. It was an interesting dynamic; because attendance was required, people were more open to making new friends and branching out of their social circles. As I waited in line, I was introduced to two strangers who ended up being very interesting people. We bonded over our shared class, our experiences as freshman, and our thoughts concerning the play. I'm almost glad that I went alone, for I got the chance to make new acquaintances at UF. This is a very important aspect of the Good Life; it is crucial that we are always open to connect with fresh faces, while simultaneously maintaining love for our old friends.
Although this play was a period piece that dealt with factory issues and poor conditions in the workplace during the Industrial Revolution, concerns about those in poverty who must work long hours in harsh conditions are still relevant today. Even now, minimum wage workers struggling to make ends meet fight for raises. Others argue that minimum wage jobs shouldn't be careers. In the play, the mother bragged that the protagonist's hands were the softest because he didn't have to sully them in manual labor. But times have changed and culture has shifted. Today, we hold hard workers in high esteem, admiring those who try to achieve the Good Life for their families. Part of earning this life is learning from the past through history and art, and moving forward with a determination to not make the same mistakes we did in past generations.
There were some very dramatic moments in this show that left the audience and myself stunned and somber. For instance, one moment of great emotional impact was when the protagonist's innocent and hardy little brother died from being trapped in a toxic hideout. Theatre often slaps us in the face with the truth in order to change our minds and inspire reform. This play even tackled of sensitive subject of child sexual abuse. The protagonist lamented horrific memories of an adult man coercing his adolescent self into sexual situations. These emotional moments contrasted with the comedic aspects of the play, reminding us to reflect on our shortcomings and to always urge the improvement of society. Embodying the Good Life means being open to our emotions, positive or negative, so that we may help others in times of need.