The Spatial Experience
The Constans Theater is very striking when one first enters. The stage has a significant amount of depth, which combined with the shallow rising of the seating serves to keep the thespians' performance above you. I know that sitting in the second row I had to crane my head upwards during the whole play, which I thought imbued the whole performance with more power and impact than it would have had if I was looking down on the action instead. The start of the play was well after I was seated, and so the dimming of the lights and quieting of the audience filled me with anticipation for the action that was to come. I think that in the good life, place is there to teach perspective. Just like my place in the audience changed how I experienced that play, your place in life so to speak also alters the life you live.
The Social Experience
I attended the performance of the play with my girlfriend on the last night. Due to the more formal nature of the play, I dressed up in nice pants and a long-sleeve button down shirt, as well as styling my hair and brushing my teeth. The whole nine yards. After that I walked to the play, which was rather pleasant due to the weather outside. Attending the play with others didn't really offer much while the actors were performing, as we didn't talk to each other to socialize during the performance. However, during intermission and after the play it was great to have someone to talk to about the play while it was still fresh in my mind. There were many little things that I didn't pick up on or take note of until they were mentioned by someone else that I talked to about the performance and that greatly added to my experience with the play. Shared experiences serve as the foundation for our relationships with our fellow man, and without them we wouldn't be able to easily connect with new people.
The Cultural and Intellectual Experience
While there are many different things addressed in the story, the one I most connected with was the message on poverty in the industrial revolution. History is a subject that I very much enjoy so I had a fairly developed idea of the conditions of the industrial revolution and the lack of freedom the people there had in actuality. Due to that my ideas regarding the conditions mostly remained static, as what was show to me paralleled my own vision of the conditions. The main reason that the poverty connected with me was due to my own experiences. I grew up on welfare up until I was in middle school. I shared a bed with my sister all through my childhood and didn't have my own room for most of my life. Because of that the message of poverty resonated with me all too well, as while I never had to glue shoe soles together I know what it's like to have an uncertain future and to be afraid you won't be able to make ends meat.
The Emotional Experience
The biggest catalyst for katharsis was the treatment of Talbot and his situation by Michaud during the play, paralleling common treatment of poverty stricken individuals by the wealthy. Michaud delighted in Talbot and his families struggles, going so far as to base a play off it. He saw Talbot's story as something to entertain people rather than seeing the terrible aspects of the whole affair. He glamorized poverty due to its alien nature to him, ignoring the harsh reality that exists due to it. This mentality towards poverty by the wealthy is something that is very much prevalent today, with people who have never experienced it not bothering to truly acknowledge the beast for what it is. We try to ignore it and pretend it's not as bad as the poor say it is, softening the hard edges to make the whole thing more palatable. Seeing how inane we treat the situation as a society helps the audience recognize that poverty isn't merely an unfortunate circumstance but a larger issue within our culture.