The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt Experience by: Vance orr

It was a bit chilly as I walked into the Reitz Union to see the play. There were people here and there as I arrived. As I walked into the auditorium, I felt ready to relax and see the play. I sat in the third row on the left side and part of the stage was inches away from me. The ceiling of the massive room was far above my head and I looked behind me often to see the rows filling up with people. It was exciting that I would be so close to the action. When the lights dimmed and the audience quieted, I was relaxed but anticipating any number of things that could happen as the first scene unfolds around me. Place is important when searching for a good life. I don't know why we like some places more than others for no outside reason. However, I think it's good to be able to enjoy your location.

I knew some people who were going to the play, but I didn't end up meeting them at Constans Theater. It would have been fun to go with friends, but I wasn't in a very social mood that day. I got out of a class at 6, ate, then headed to the Reitz and started taking pictures. The only thing I did to prepare was double check the requirements on canvas to see what pictures I had to take. I sat by a guy I had never met and we didn't talk to each other. Shared experiences are important in the good life because it's good to be exposed to different views, and encouraging when you can have a fun experience and know that your friends enjoyed themselves too. Shared experiences can be very enriching and important.

The play took place in Canada in either the late 19th or early 20th century. I think the main issue faced in the play was that we need to do what is right no matter who or what consequences stand in our way. I have heard stories and known about the various forms of injustice that took place at the time such as child labor and corrupt and perverted religious leaders. My view on the subject matter changed in that watching people tolerate those injustices in the play made it hard to comprehend why we don't take action immediately. However, it also made me debate the ideal course of action in my head. When the man was accused of stealing silverware and claimed the clergyman had molested him, the Father told him to plead guilty anyway. And when the Father eventually reported it, he was murdered. Maybe it was suggesting we have a moral obligation to fix problems, but also says some things are out of our control. This could apply to small things in my life like making sure I sort out whatever I need to do and fix what I need to fix, but thankfully I'm not facing any discrimination or injustice.

I think the theater gives us a chance at katharsis because everyone has an opinion on the topics of the play. In the talk-back, the actors asked who didn't like the play. The people who raised their hands were "coming clean" and the actors thanked them for being honest and participating. The main idea the actors conveyed was that even though some plays try to sway the audience to one view and some have a broader perspective, the point of the theater is really just to get people to think. If no one is thinking, how will we solve our problems? I thought about how there's other sides to every story and every view I have and that listening to them and understanding them can only make me start thinking more and perhaps I could make a significant advancement on some issue because of it. The play focused on so many different topics that I think the main point of the play really was to make us think about different perspectives. That way, filled with knowledge, people can go about solving problems and innovating to improve our world.

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Vance Orr

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