Good Life Performance The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt Hugo Le Helley

The Spatial Experience

When I first walked into the auditorium I got a sense of professionalism. Even walking in from the front doors you were greeted by helpful employees, which then continued to check my Gator 1 card. This set me up in a way that I was informed that I was going to watch a professional play. The actors, directors, and designers were all studying or have studied the art of theatre. Then viewing the set in person as can be seen in the image below, reinforced this notion of professionalism. The physical props looked very realistic and I was excited to see this play. The set itself sent conflicting themes, the metal beams which looked rusted gave the set a very industrial appearance. However, the stained glass gave off a classical style one relating back to the church. I would soon enough understand the reasoning behind this as the play would switch from scenes in a church to then a shoe factory. Setting the physical scene seems to be an important part of plays as they are a very visual art. Relating this to the Good Life, it shows how appearance and how you present yourself or your surroundings gives an impression to others.

The Social Experience

Attending the performance was an enjoyable experience. I went to the play with a friend from my residential hall. It was fun to be able to share this with someone else. It made it seem less like another assignment I have to do for Good Life and more like an outing. I was even able to find a couple more of my friends when I was seated. Once the intermission commenced, I benefitted by being with someone else. We were able to discuss for a brief moment, the scenes of the first part and what we thought of the play so far. Even predicting how the story will unfold in the second half. Going to the play, is overall, a very social journey. On the way back from the play all my friend and I could do was talk about the characters or about how the story finished. We met up with some friends back at the dorms and explained to them the entire story. Sharing what we experienced with others is a part of the Good Life. It is not simply taking the knowledge for oneself but being able to discuss it with others.

The Cultural and Intellectual Experience

The play helped me understand the progress that our culture has gone through but also the room for improvement that we need. The main aspect of progress that was noticed is the influence the church has over the arts. In this day of age, artists are able to express themselves a lot more freely than they were able to before. In the play for instance, which is set in 1905 Quebec City, the archbishop gets the two main characters to deliver a letter demanding Sarah Bernhardt to stop her play. In present day, there are very few cases where clergy demand for art to be stopped. This shows the growth of secularism within our culture and how the individual is free to express themselves however they see as fit, which is a crucial part of the Good Life.

The Emotional Experience

The play allows its spectators to analyze their personal situation and take a step back. Most people will feel purified and some sense of relief after seeing the struggles of Talbot. He had to live knowing that his family was fighting to survive and also being framed for stealing. He had also been sexually abused by a member of the church that he was training to join. Realizing how difficult his life must be, as a spectator I realized how privileged I am. Many times we tend to focus on the negative aspects of life, however every once in awhile we are able to be put into perspective. This is how the play functioned. It allowed the viewers to take an external look at their own lives and come to the realization that it is not that bad. Part of the Good Life is overcoming the negatives and coming clean with what is positive.


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Hugo Le Helley


Hugo Le Helley

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