-The Beginning of the Night(Introduction)-
I grew up around the theatre, the arts, and performance. From being put in ballet at just two years old, I was in and out of studios and on and off stages in theatre's all over Florida. With my busy high school life, it was, at times, extremely difficult to make time to go back and revisit the arts whether it was for a brief performance or just to take a look at artwork. This play was a source of fresh scenery for me, allowed a few hours of an escape from class and homework, as well as the pressures of everyday life. Coming into the play not knowing what it was going to be about, I was extremely curious. However, as soon as the play started I was immersed in a setting where two worlds collide and I found many relevant comparisons with the play to the values and ideals taught in Siddhartha and The Good Life.
-The Spatial Experience-
Upon entering the auditorium I was a little bit nervous. I didn't know if this would be an actual theatre and I was excited to see how full it would be, as well as the sets, and interior. When I entered I have to say, I was quite impressed with how it looked. To be completely honest, I felt a little overwhelmed with the theatre, in terms of how broad and grand it was. Granted, it wasn't anything like the Broadway theatre's I have been to, but it was still impressive! I was hoping to pick my own seat in the middle, however, I was directed by the ushers and sat on the very side in the front, which honestly wasn't that bad either. There was a constant humming chatter, but once the lights dimmed and Sarah Bernhardt came out from the side Exit door with actors screaming and chasing her in awe, the crowd knew the show was starting and in a fabulous way. The role of place in the Good Life, I would have to say, is that it doesn't matter where you are physically as long as you are comfortable and mentally sound of the place you are at. I believe this is true, because of my personal experience. I get anxiety attacks quite often and they tend to hit me in situations where I am surrounded by a lot of people and don't really have much room, so for example, perhaps sitting in the very front and center row during a performance or show. If I sit somewhere I am comfortable, then I will enjoy the show better, concentrate better, and have an ultimately happy and better experience.
-The Social Experience-
I attended the performance with one of my roommates, Chyenne Bliss! We got ready in our dorm together and changed from our regular outfit of running shorts and an oversized t-shirt, into something a little more dressy for the theatre, like a dress and sandals. We made sure our phones were charged for the pictures we took in and out of the theatre. I'm glad we went to the play together, because we were both about to go alone, until we decided to attend the first play together. I'm glad it worked out that way, because it was just an overall better experience with a friend and someone I'm close with. It was fun to laugh with her through the amusing scenes and it was even fun to take the pictures with her, and experiment with different lighting and angles while waiting in line to get our Gator 1's scanned. The whole process and experience was just less lonely and a lot more fun with someone with me to talk to and discuss the play and possible picture and spark story ideas with! The role of shared experiences in the Good Life differs in my opinion, because of what I learned throughout our discussions. Sharing experiences may be one person's cup of tea, but might be something another person may loathe. Like Siddhartha, one person may choose to experience life and life's journeys alone. On the other hand, like the people pilgrimaging to Mecca, as well as Govinda, others may feel comfortable going through life with others! I think I can relate to both kinds of people! Ultimately, sharing experiences is a vital part in growing not just as a human, but also emotionally and mentally. I think sharing experiences opens people's minds to different thoughts, values, points of views, and can help them grow into a person of many opinions and dimensions which is vital in personal growth, as well as creating a life that you may be proud of!
-The Cultural and Intellectual Experience-
Occurring in early 20th Century Quebec, this play addresses many issues that aren't that common anymore in today's society, but can still be found in parts around the world. The main issue, I found, was the issue of class and hierarchy. Talbot's family is a hardworking, lower class family, who endures long hours in a shoe factory for very minimal pay. Sending their troubled teen, Talbot, to a Seminary was a great risk they took in order to secure at least one child's chance at a comfortable and honorable life. Michaud, a boy already living in the Seminary, takes a liking to Talbot and admits he is a privileged upper class boy, who wishes to write a play about the lower class and, ultimately, delve into the mundane and hardworking lives of the working class to get a taste for poverty which he believes can help his writing. Sarah Bernhardt, the "star of the show", is the epitome of a dramatic and spoiled actress of the elite and upper class. These three characters from different backgrounds come together. To me, the main issue was poverty, social stratification, and how what you have does not determine your happiness. Before coming into the play I knew poverty was still an extremely serious issue throughout the world. Social stratification is, as well, a very important issue and I believe we need to come together as one, now more than ever. And lastly, being considered wealthy, does not mean you will be happy and content with life. On the contrary, being considered poor and lacking in material items, does not mean you will be sad. In fact, sometimes the happiest people are the ones with the least! Although I knew about early 20th century North America, this play really opened my eyes even more. The part in the play where Talbot describes the two young girls who's heads got ripped off by the machines, really emphasized how dangerous and intense working in factories at such a young age, in such a demanding and stressful time, and in such a dangerous and ethically unprepared factory can be. I can relate some of the themes in my personal life, as well. I see social stratification daily, back at home. Everyone seems divided these days, and it takes a toll on relationships in and outside families. This play explores social norms and those norms transfer over in today's society, as well. The wealthiest and most famous people, might have the saddest lives and might be the most tired. On the other end of the spectrum, the most hard working, most tired, and people with the least might be some of the happiest, mentally strong, and positive people you will ever meet. Social norms and expectations, as well as division will never truly go away, in my opinion, but we must make try to lessen the effects of it to an extent.
-The Emotional Experience-
Overall, this play did provide the viewers to release some negative energy in catharsis. Everything Dr. Pagan brought up in her quote “topics that are socially uncomfortable, politically contentious, religiously irreverent, or culturally radical.” is true in this play. This play brings up the sad reality of social classes, social stratification, and the unfair treatment of those hard workers in factories. It shows the violence, sickness, and injury that occur in the factories in the early 20th century, that still happen today in different factories that are modernized. This play brings up controversial jabs at religion, as Sarah Bernhardt scoffs at the young boys and the Priests, as well as the Church. The arguments between Talbot, his kid brother, an his mother, while awkward, show the audience the intimacy of everyday arguments families everywhere get into. This play brings up defiance of authority, corruption of society, finding your creativity, and questioning religion, law, and society. These conversations and topics, although awkward and thought of as socially unacceptable to talk about unless in private, are brought up throughout the play. This ultimately forces us as viewers to watch our actions being played out by actors. We sit back and watch how they interact and then realize this is how we act every day of our lives. We can ponder our thoughts, actions, and decisions through watching others perform them. This provides us with a source of catharsis because we can scoff, laugh, and cry at the actions of the actors, even though they are a mirror reflection of our own. We watch them and think, "Wow, is that really what we sound like?" which sparks conversation in us, and hopefully a change for the better. It's a purging of our emotions through an art form. This provides us with clarity on our actions and we walk out of the play feeling rejuvenated, renewed, and reborn in an artistic and emotionally aware sense.