The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt A tHeatrical experience

The Spatial Experience: Upon entering the theater, I was filled with excitement. Seeing my fellow students gather their pictures together and swipe their gator cards to obtain their tickets created a bustling and positive atmosphere. I was on the right-hand side of the theater, a little farther up, however this did not hinder my sight at all. I had a wonderful view of the entire stage from this vantage point, especially since I was sitting in the seat at the end of the row. My anticipation was building and as soon as the lights went down, I knew that it was time to begin. As silence fell over the audience, the stage came to life and my anticipation was no more. I particularly enjoyed the fact that this was a large auditorium. There was room for the actors to go in between the rows and to truly interact with the audience, so it felt like everything came together much better. In the good life, place or location is crucial. You could have a great job, however if you hate the rain and cold and you live somewhere that is rarely sunny, then you will end up miserable. Some prefer the bustle of the city and many would rather the quiet and calm of a local town. If you aren’t in a place with sights and weather that you like, the days will seem dreadful and achieving the good life will be much harder, and possibly unattainable.

The Social Experience: I attended this performance with my roommate who is also taking this course. To get ready for the performance we researched a little bit about Sarah Bernhardt so we knew what we were walking into. We got there fifteen minutes early and thought about how best to showcase our experience through pictures as well as getting inside in time to get excellent seats. Attending the performance with a friend made everything more comfortable and less intimidating. I did not feel out of place in the huge auditorium and I felt more prepared to listen and to understand what was going on. In the good life, shared experiences are extremely important. There are many things that we must do alone, but there are a lot of other things that are much better when surrounded by loved ones. When you receive an award, or are given some type of bad news, it is good to have words of encouragement or celebration. You can share these experiences with people, whether good or bad, and they can be there for all your losses and wins. Life can be lonely if we do not have anyone to share it with and so to attain the good life, shared experiences are just as important as solitary ones.

The Cultural and Intellectual Experience: The central issue that is addressed in the performance is child labor. When Leo dies at the end of act two because of the Boss, the elite such as Sarah Bernhardt become aware of the maltreatment of children everywhere. Before attending the performance, I had assumed that child labor in workhouses was common long ago, however I did not expect so much danger in these places that resulted in so much death. My views remain the same, that children should not perform heavy duty and life-threatening jobs. I believe that children should be in school and that they should be able to choose their own path, it should not be determined by the amount of money that you possess. However, after this performance I have become more aware of these issues and do not simply dismiss them. It is easy in our lives to forget the things that we never witnessed and to simply ignore them, because it is history. Although, after seeing this performance my eyes opened to what the world and many cultures were like long ago. I feel much more informed and can understand how society today has developed. The subject matter does not have a relationship to something pertaining to my own life because things have changed so much. Sadly, back then there was a lot of child labor in dangerous factories. Nowadays, children as young as fourteen can work in safe and comfortable environments and attend school. Things have developed so much and as the years go by children should never have to worry about slaving away in a factory or at a minimum wage job to help provide support again.

The Emotional Experience: The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt provides us somewhat of a katharsis. In this performance, many serious topics are introduced such as rape, infidelity in the church, and child abuse. These are topics that most avoid, they cause the most controversy and strike up many debates. This play is an opportunity for katharis because people who are afraid to speak up and use their voice can see on the stage these issues come to life. It isn’t necessarily a sense of relief, but a form of expression that shows their principles coming to life. People can leave this performance feeling more informed and educated on such topics, instead of playing them off as unimportant. It even helps some people to let go of certain beliefs and to feel as though they can let go of some past thoughts or mistakes pertaining to the content.

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