The Spatial Experience: I generally adore viewing plays and I fully appreciate the opportunity to see a live production, however I do not always appreciate it when it is not fully voluntary so as I entered the theater I was simultaneously overcome with excitement and boredom as I was stoked to be in a new theater but not fond of my circumstances. I sat in the middle-right of the audience. I generally attempt to sit in the center as to avoid obstructions and get the purest of angles. As in a movie theater, I always get excited when the lights go dim knowing the show is about to start. My location definitely contributed to my enjoyment of the play and gave me a perspective that allowed me to appreciate the play in a more ideal manner. Location directly relates to perspective.
The Social Experience: I attended the performance with one of my pledge brothers from my fraternity named Grant. I have an appreciation for the theater so I did not want to be very under-dressed. It is important to understand that showing up in athletic apparel is not acceptable so I dressed as though I was going to church but I did not prepare much for it. Viewing the performance with friends definitely made it a more enjoyable experience as I was able to talk with him throughout the play. We attempted to predict the plot, analyzed events, and whispered jokes throughout the show. Theatrical events are definitely enhanced when viewing them with friends. Humans were made as social creatures, so spending time with others is generally seen as a way to achieve a "good life". Introverts and extroverts alike strive for meaningful relationships as they many view a lonely life to be undesirable.
The Cultural and Intellectual Experience: This play provided a very good insight to how the arts and religion interacted in this specific time period as well as giving insight into the class divisions of the era as the working and living conditions of the poor were terrible and the upper class was unaware of the injustices. It is very interesting to compare the ways in which the Christian and Catholic faiths responded to the liberal arts of that time period to how they respond to those of our current times. The play definitely stirred within me a stronger sense and hope for social justice. The actress that played Sarah Bernhardt discussed the research that she had done in order to fully understand the time period in which her character lived in the the talk back. She not only researched her character, but a lot of the historical context as well. Working conditions should never be so bad to the point where children are dying on the job or working in general. It makes me appreciate living in a country in which there are regulations restricting working age. While the subject matter does not directly relate to my own life, it does relate to things occurring in culture as there have been many sources describing child labor in places like China.
The Emotional Experience: Going into this play I was very displeased. I entered the auditorium with the wrong attitude. Throughout the first act, I was very tired and bored due to the fact that the first act seemed to set up all of the more exciting events that were to come in the second act. The second act evoked in me a whirlwind of emotions that the first act did not prepare me for though my friend and I had predicted the climax of the story. I experienced "katharsis" and what it means to be human through those emotions. I was overcome with righteous anger when the child was trapped underneath the floorboard and died from breathing in the unhealthy air. I was also infuriated with the Catholic priests when I discovered the Talbot, the protagonist, had been raped as a child. This has been a problem within the Catholic church for a long time and though I have head various stories, this one produced the most emotion for me. Overall, I enjoyed the play and was thankful for the opportunity to see it as I would not have seen it otherwise.