The day of the 25th of January, I woke up oblivious to the fact that I would be attending The Divine: A Play For Sarah Bernhardt, until I texted from Emma, my Good Life friend and classmate, inquiring about my attendance that night. I had forgotten all about registering for the play and did so urgently thinking that I would have to go alone to the next one if I missed the one tonight. Emma and I agreed on a meeting spot and found ourselves on the second floor of Reitz staring upon the Constance Theater commenting on the fact that we had always past by it and never realized it's existence. We quicky took our selfie outside the threater and entered the building bewildered by it's size and how neatly tucked away in the Reitz it was. As we waited in line inside the lobby to be granted admission to the theater, we gazed upon the tall sculptures in the lobby (Pictured Left). After our Gator 1 cards were swiped we walked inside and faced a kind usher who handed us our programs and directed us to our seats. We found ourselves seated in the left side of the theater on the 4th row with a clear view of the industrial- looking beds on set and the vibrantly colored stained glass-windows on the background, along with the steady stream of "snow" that fell from the ceiling of the set. This effect emitted an eerie ambiance that sparked curiosity within me, wondering who would be the first to appear in this cathedral-like dormitory. Five minutes later, the lights dimmed and a bright spot light shone in my direction and a figure with bright red hair appeared before me and was being hounded by loud reporter like figure who with the redhead walked the massive perimeter of the auditorium and exited leaving bewildered Good Life students in its wake. The location in which the play was performed enhanced the attention of the audience because the seclusion of the auditorium removed one from the normalcy one experiences when going about your business within the Reitz, thus one could focus on the message being delivered by the actors.
As I stated before, I attended the performance with Emma Seals, a friend I made last semester through a creative writing class. Prior to attending the performance, Emma and I agreed to read about it to be prepared for the message the performance would deliver. Attending with someone gave me, personally, another person to bounce ideas off of and share our opinions of the performance. It made the experience more enjoyable and sociable as I was more inclined to speak to other Good Life students. This shared experience made me connect with Emma more since it aided me in understand her thoughts on religion, theater, and the Industrial Revolution. Likewise, in our "good life" we share experiences with many individuals and in result, we grow closer because of these experiences that at times lead to long lasting friendships.
As the lights dimmed and the audience quieted, I was introduced to a snowy winter play set in 1905 within Quebec City, Canada. I was exposed the debate over the morality, and lack of, within the Industrial Revolution factories, the Catholic church, and theater. Prior to the performance, I had learned through my American history class the lack of child labor laws in the early years of the Industrial Revolution era. Also, being a Catholic I am well aware of the corrupt priests that use their vestments for money and their perverted agendas. Despite all of this, I did learn the large juxtaposition between the church and the theater. The church is an institution which disseminates and "stands" for honesty and morality. Despite this, within the play degenerate priests take the innocence of children and protect each other's secrets through lies just to protect themselves and the image of the church from disgrace. On the other hand, theater is known and adored for its false stories made to entertain and deliver a message to an audience. The means to which the story is produced is artificial but the message many times speaks to the morality of the audience and therefore teaches them a lesson. The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt gracefully presented both paradoxes and dug deep within each institution to reveal the truth and teach a lesson, which speaks of morality. All in all, the subject matter spoke to me as a Catholic. I personally struggle with my acceptance of the church as an institution because I view it as a business. This play enhanced my views of my doubts towards the church's shortcomings by reinforcing them. I personally have stopped attending church, despite my family's discontent, because I cannot be a masochist and overlook the church's selfishness and falsehood. In my opinion, if the Pope and the Vatican believed in giving up their money and privileges to slightly enhance the life of the poor and needy, many more would see the light at the end of the tunnel to achieve their good life.
Within The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt, every character approached a point of katharsis. Likewise, the audience, including myself, reached our own katharsis. I personally came clean to the fact that I don't agree with the actions of the church much like Michaud. I finally am able to affront the separation of my beliefs from those which are propagandized by Catholic church. By doing so, I am living my good life, I feel more at peace because of it. I reached my katharsis, through religious means as I am sure others did too.
Picture 1: Driver, Martin. Theater Images as Wallpapers. Digital image. WallpaperSafari. N.p., 1 Feb. 2016. Web.
Picture 2: By me.
Picture 3: By me.
Picture 4: Ando, Tadao. Church of the Light. Digital image. Tokyowing2. N.p., 4 May 2011. Web.
Picture 5: Hine, Lewis Wickes . Bibb Mill No. 1, Macon, Ga. Digital image. StreetofSalem. Daseger, 31 Aug. 2012. Web.
Picture 6: By me.