I attended the play with my roomate Mark, along with hundreds of other strangers.
We got ready by waking up and eating some oatmeal and walking over to the theatre.
Attending the play with a friend allowed me to discuss the play and its meaning at intermission, and it added a level of comfort and made the experience more of a social experience than a school project.
Shared experiences among friends are essential to the good life. People are happiest among friends, and shared experiences provide a sense of unity and closeness and help develop relationships. Relationships are essential to the good life because people find happiness with other people. I know that my good life includes spending a life with my closest friends and family. Shared experiences ultimately help make these relationships that much more special and close.
Now on to the Cultural and Intellectual Experience
Our culture is built on the idea of capitalism, the idea that every person has an equal opportunity to succeed and essentially that if you're poor it is you're own fault. This play, taking place right at the brink of the industrial revolution in the early 20th century, points out that this idea is wrong. Families are torn apart by capitalism, children unfairly killed in industrial accidents, and people forced to undergo unspeakable things. This play also points out the hypocrisy of the catholic church and the absurdness of censorship. The play focuses around Talbot's abuse at the hands of a priest for years, the church's attempt to cover it up, Talbot's attempt to move past it, and the church's attempt to censor Sarah Bernhardt. It points out the ridiculousness of the idea that the church would rather cover up a rape by a priest rather than punish the priest. The very idea is absurd. It also seeks to point to the theatre and the arts as a means of escape.
The only way that Talbot finds relief, is through his friend Michaud's attempt to recreate Talbot's grief and suffering in a play. Ultimately, the play attempts to right society's wrongs, and expose the Church's wrongdoings. Prior to attending this play I knew very little of either of these subject matters. I'd seen Spotlight in theaters, a movie that exposed the Church's covering up of rapes, and I'd heard about the 20th century working conditions, but I never understood the magnitude of the effects these institutions had on individual people's live until I experienced the play.
This play exposed further the realities of what capitalism means for the poor, and it truly exposed the hypocrisy of the Catholic Church in relation to covering things up and censoring the arts. In my own life, however, the only relationship it has is that it has changed my views about capitalism slightly, and it has made me more open to the idea of social welfare and its need in our society.
Finally, the Emotional Experience:
Katharsis, or the process of coming clean in greek, plays a significant role in this play, and in the effect the play has on other people.