Good Life Performance Leong Yin Tanya Chiu

The Spatial Experience

The grand and formal entrance of Constans Theatre had caught my attention once I entered Reitz Union. Different groups of people were gathering in front of the entrance. Some of them were waiting for their friends while some of them were taking pictures. My friend, Tabitha, and I soon got into the theater, and the first feeling I had after passing through the entrance was that the lobby inside is quite small and informal. That was totally different from what I expected. I expected there would be some show-related materials in the lobby space, but there was none except some random pictures. That was a bit of a disappointment. I, as an audience suppose it would be better if the lobby had more interactions with the audiences, so that audiences could feel like they were stepping into the world of play from the moment they crossed through the theater entrance.

Theatre Entrance

Although the transitional space from the entrance to the inside of the theatre was so simple and informal, the interiors of the theater and the stage brought me excitement to the show again. The stage was well constructed just like most of the other theaters, and the dimmed lights gave a sense of mystery to this theater. We sat down on the fourth roll, which was pretty closed to the stage. From that distance, I can feel a strong atmosphere that the play gave to the audiences. It was so real and felt like I was a part of the play. I could see clearly of every single facial expression that the actors had, and also their interactions with all the theatrical properties. It was an amazing experience because I have never sat that close to the stage before. The light effects were excellent as well since it really caught our attentions. Whenever there was a spotlight on someone, all of the audiences would turn their heads to them at the same time. I like the size of this theater, not too big and not too small, which gave me a sense of openness, but at the same time intimacy. I think theater is a place for people to get away from their ordinary life. While being inside of a theater, people can feel that they have entered another world. Theater is a place that full of impossibilities and imaginations, where it provides people a chance to think of what is happening around the world and what do they mean to people. Different places have different values to different people. Place is not only a space, but also a media that can possibly evoke the emotions of us and encourage us to pursuit our good life.

The Social Experience

I would feel uncomfortable without someone accompany me to a play. Therefore, I went to this play with Tabitha, who is my friend as well as classmate. I always feel awkward to go somewhere or to do something by myself, especially watching movies. Even though people are not supposed to talk during the movies, or plays etc, the experience will turn out differently compared to watching them ourselves. Tabitha and I didn’t discuss much about the show before it started, but we were both excited to watch the play together. After the show was finished, we talked a bit about it to try to figure out if we get the right ideas on this play. It is always interesting to share our thoughts on either movies or plays afterwards because we get to know different kind of comments, opinions, and perspectives. Sometimes we will even understand more about the play by sharing our ideas. Shared experiences somehow create connections between people. The connections developed not only between me and Tabitha, but also me and other audiences. I would look at others’ reactions during the play, and noticed most of us would have the same reactions. This kind of bonding just simply happened but is special to me. I believe shared experience can facilitate on our quest of good life since it is often harder to figure out what we want on our own self. Sometimes, we can also get motivated by listening and understanding others’s comments and perspectives on life or other issues.

The Cultural and Intellectual Experience

Photo by David Cooper

I am that kind of person who often live in a world under my own imagination. I only believe in what I choose to believe and care things that I am interested in. Sometimes, I would see myself as a selfish human being because I seldom care about what exactly is happening in my society or what is changing in my culture. However, this performance helps me develop a new way of seeing and understanding my own culture. At the beginning of this play, Michaud was an innocent seminarian born from a wealthy family, but his innocence was later shattered by his growing awareness of the inequalities happening around him. I found myself in that innocent Michaud since we both satisfied with our existing states. But as soon as the story of horrific abuse of a child by a pedophile was revealed, and the brutal conditions in a shoe factory was disclosed, Michaud began to discover the truth and injustice in his city. And the same time, I realized I shouldn’t just be too positive of my society which I always think I am living in a perfect city, and expect everyone one else having the same living situations as me. The central idea of this performance was to stress the injustice and inhumanity by describing a corrupt church, a society where children were sexually abused, and also the poor working conditions in factories where workers were treated like slaves. Although these issues were happened a hundred years ago, it wouldn’t be hard for me to think that these situations are still continuing all the way through now. Perhaps I should start paying attention to what is happening around the world, and think of how I can improve those situations with my abilities. I believe justice is what we must have in our society and everyone should be treated equally in order to attain good life.

The Emotional Experience

Photo by David Cooper

Theatre is such an important element in this play which most of the things were happening around it. Theatre provides people an opportunity for katharsis because we can be what we truly want to be while no one cares about right or wrong. It is also a transitional space where we walk in with nothing in mind but walk out with all kind of possibilities in our heads. Theater gives possibility to all things that people would think is impossible. From the performance, we can tell Sarah is a woman who dares to say everything. She can makes bold statements about the locals which no other women at that time would be able to do that. She was an example of what a woman could be, and theater is a media of how she expressed those bold ideas to the publics. She taught Michaud his ability to express his rebellion through theater and told him to put the factory story into his play, so that people could realize the injustice in their society. Theatre is certainly a place or a white canvas, where people can draw things and have new thoughts on what it means to be human and what they can do to be happy in order to achieve the good life.

Citation

Cooper, D. (Photograph). (n.d.). Retrieved from http://jameskarasreviews.blogspot.com/2015/08/the-divine-play-for-sarah-bernhardt.html

Created By
Tanya Chiu
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