On the walk to the theater, I mentally prepared myself for the change in setting I was about to experience. It had been a while since I had seen a play so I was excited to get that experience again. Just seeing other people gathering to watch, checking their bags, and receiving tickets got me pumped to watch the play. The experience was also social.
Photo of Maddie and I, taken during intermission
The Social Experience: Many of the other audience members were the same age as I and thus the experience was much more social than I was expecting. A lot of people came with their friends and sat together. I didn't, so I was seated next to others that came alone. I was initially saddened by this because I felt lonely. However, this actually made it easier for me to meet new people and spark up conversation. The person sitting next to me, Maddie, started talking to me and we hit it off. We discussed our majors, our interests, and how we feel about life in general. After becoming acquaintances, we were able to share the experience together, discussing the play during intermission and our individual reactions. Having the reactions of others to conflict with mine allowed me to see the purpose and impact of the play in different perspectives from my own. I was able to consider the different possibilities and various feelings evoked.
Outside of Constans Theater (via: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constans_Theatre)
The Spatial Experience: While the outside of the Constans Theater was relatively plain, I was able to get more of a theater feel once I walked into the lobby. On the left, they were checking bags. On the right, they were scanning Gator 1 IDs and directing people into the theater. Since I didn't have a backpack, I immediately went inside. The inside of the theater was nice. Almost every seat was filled. The experience felt mature. Everyone was talking, but when the play started, everyone immediately ceased conversation. The sound quality was good, and the lighting added to the mood of the play.
The seating arrangement and inside of Constans Theater. (via: http://foresightcgi.com/project/university-of-t2-replacement/)
The Cultural and Intellectual Experience: The play really made me reconsider industry and media. The corruption of things such as pop songs does not really align with a love for music and sharing that music with others. Which is right: something that people think they like and popularity for a celebrity, or honest, true music with a meaning behind it for people to connect to? The difference is sometimes hard to tell, which is the worst because someone you respected turns out to just be in it for the money and fame. I relate this to Talbot's struggles with what is right and wrong. Because of image, she could not do what she truly felt was right. I had read about the play before being exposed to the subject matter, but this is something I have thought about before. I also previously had known about the child labor laws. The play did, however, bring the reality of what it was to my attention, as well as the reality behind the "image".
Scene from the play (via: http://jameskarasreviews.blogspot.com/2015/08/the-divine-play-for-sarah-bernhardt.html)
Emotional Experience: Directly addressing people's sense of morality and truth could lead to kartharsis. By exposing truth, the play in a sense "comes clean". Nothing is secret--there's the image and there's the reality. The audience knows both. Thus they are forced to assess this situation in their own lives, perhaps their own masks and be real with themselves.
Me upon arrival to the theater.