The Spatial Experience-- The stage was really very well designed. The chairs only had slight sloping so the entire audience was virtually at stage level. This made the experience more immersive. I think the relatively small theater size and the compact, up front seating made not only audience feel more united with the actors, but also with each other. My seat was to the side of the middle section and in the front-most seating area. The actors frequently had interactions with the audience via a division in the seating sections. I had to do a lot of turning around in my seat to see all the action. I think this was all to create a realistic and surrounding environment for the audience members. My seat made the experience very real and in-my-face. I think the interaction was very important to the message, showing the relevance of the discussed topics and making the audience face the realities of the horror of the events occurring in the play.
I legitimately enjoy thinking about inhumanities and trying to think about solutions and ways I can help
The Cultural and Intellectual Experience-- Poverty, corruption, abuse of power, and familial tensions are timeless subjects of debate. I think this play did a truly phenomenal job of drawing relevance from situations that are specific to the early 20th century. The corruption in the church and the monologue discussing power made me think a lot about authority and the relevance or necessity of officer positions or declared roles of power. I think about leadership and what it means to lead a lot, so this conflict in the play was very close to my heart. I love the idea of leading from within an organization or group of people. One does not need a specified role to lead and have power and the idea of one man controlling every aspect of an entire group of people's lives is terrifying to me.
Another social concern debated through the medium was that of poverty and abuse of the poor by the rich. I have never truly experienced poverty, but I want to work in the field of righting social injustice. I aspire to be a psychologist that works for the government with at-risk youths. The good intentions and vocal nature of Leo really spoke to me and showed me an example of the type of individual I will likely be working with; one who does not want help, and is difficult to get to know them and their motivations, but who, in the long run, will be a very rewarding partnership. I want to help children like him avoid his unfortunate fate due simply to the conditions or their birth.
My brothers (including honorary brother Birkner) and I went together to the play, making it more enjoyable
The Social Experience-- I went to the play with three of the brothers in my fraternity and a sister in our sister fraternity. I think going with them both made the play more enjoyable and more meaningful. Following the play, the people I went with and I took a jaunt over the Chomp It at Graham and sat outside eating fries while we discussed the play. I think this experience showed the purpose of the common activities. We have these shared experiences so that we can discuss a common topic and see the different perspectives and takes on the same thing. The experiences and the different interpretations show us that not everything is the same to everyone. I love the idea of getting a group of varied people doing the same thing and observing their incredible variance in response to it.
Sarah Bernhardt's very real speech about the arts is something I firmly agree with
The Emotional Response-- Theater, the arts, and most specifically this play allow us to come to terms with suffering in the world. The katharsis inherent in the theater comes from accepting and coming clean about the injustices in the world. As a Catholic, this play helped me in the process of accepting the humanism of the church, the corruption inevitable with ultimate power being bestowed upon one man. I think the play also puts people in a position in which they have to understand that no one human is inherently evil or entirely good. Every individual is some balance of positive and negative qualities. There was a line that struck me with this, when Michaud pointed out how he finally understood a playwright's refusal to draft a perfect character, how even the "good guys" can be and will be incredibly flawed for the art to be realistic or worthwhile. Sarah's speech at the end also exemplifies this ideal; the arts challenge each individual to face difficult introspection and acceptance of their flaws along with their positive qualities. It attempts to present reality in all it's disgusting glory, a noble and worthwhile goal.