I discovered that a group of my friends were attending the same performance time as I was about 2 hours before the play began. I chose my ticket time that afternoon simply because it was the only free time that I had during the next few weeks. I was going to attend the play alone at first, but was relieved to know I would be sharing my experiences with other living breathing human beings that I knew. Throughout the performance, if I observed an inconsistency in the plot or an element that was less than amazing, I would look over to my friends and could almost guarantee they felt the same way. I also did this when something shocking developed in the plot or if there was a really impressive scene. Because I had a hard time hearing the actors, I often asked my friends for clarification in what was happening in the play or used their facial expressions or reactions to give me an idea of the progression of the plot. Being able to swap opinions on the plot and compare different experiences with other people is essential to the good life because it sets the foundation for an open mind and being able to empathize with other people's definitions of the good life. Sharing this experience with my friends allowed me to understand key points that I missed or didn't understand, and it also allowed me to gain multiple perspectives on the quality and content of the performance.
My Cultural and Intellectual Experience
This play was set in Quebec City in 1905. The plot of the play dealt with numerous controversial issues, but the issue that stood out to me the most was the issue of child labor laws at the turn of the 20th century. Coming into the play, I knew about the controversy surrounding child labor in the United States and the horrific stories of children forced to endure the terrible conditions of factories. I wasn't aware of how these issues impacted Canada at the time, but I assumed that the challenges held more similarities than differences. Leo Talbot, Talbot's fourteen-year-old brother that works in a shoe factory with his mother to help support his seminary education, is a focal character in the play. His direct actions, however, are not focused on as much as how his character shapes those around him. As an audience member knowing what I knew about labor conditions of the late 1800s, I feared for Leo's life throughout the play, even if the play did not directly focus on him. In fact, the play's lack of focus on Leo's character could be a metaphor in how Quebec governments treated child laborers and how, because of their age, they were often looked over and ignored. The pain of these situations of the past parallel with present outsourced labor conditions in many third-world and developing communities. I felt personally tied to this issue because we still see it today in various African, Asian, and South American countries, but normalize these horrors in exchange for brand names and materialistic ventures. Although the set and costumes were aged, the actual scenarios and lines had a timeless quality that made it easier to relate to many of the issues we sometimes ignore in today's society,