THE DIVINE: A PLAY FOR SARAH BERNHARDT Good life Common activity (Google images)

Introduction: The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt, centers around three main characters: Michaud, the son of the Minister of Finance who is a seminarian, and Talbot, who is from a very poor family and also a seminarian, and Sarah Bernhardt, an actress who lived from 1844 to 1923 and acted on stages all over Canada.

Outside the Constans Theatre.

The Spatial Experience: As I entered the theatre I was excited to finally find out what application this play had to IUF1000. My seat was all the way to the left of the auditorium and about half-way back. The best part of going to any show is the power of the dimming lights on the audience. As it wasn't a gigantic theatre, the play felt intimate and with such a small cast, that worked nicely. In the Good Life, we often discuss whether or not our environment plays a part on attaining a good life. While some people are less impacted by this, I find it difficult to focus or be happy if my environment is too cluttered or too noisy and while ignoring those things, I believe, is a learned skill, I also believe that some people are naturally predisposed to be overly impacted by their surroundings.

Seated before the play.

The Social Experience: One of my good friends and I arrived early and were seated for a while before the show began so we chatted about what we expected to gain from this experience until the lights dimmed. I met her here at school last semester. We are from the same town and we started to hangout more at the beginning of this semester. Before the show we made dinner together, but mainly just relaxed. Attending with a friend helped me to feel at ease with the ticket and seating processes. It also helped to have someone to ask about the plot if I did not catch a line or understand something fully. Shared experiences in the Good Life enable us to bounce ideas and opinions around with people we trust and care for. The trust aspect is vital because I commonly would not share just any random idea with a stranger for fear of judgment or even anger.

After the play.

The Cultural and Intellectual Experience: The play gave me some insight into actress Sarah Berhardt who I had never heard of before. Also, the portrayal of the gilded age of fashion in Canada was quite interesting as well as the conflict and animosity between homosexuality and the church that was so prevalent during that time. Even today, that same issue is so relevant. My hope is that one day the church will be viewed as a welcoming and loving place for people no matter how they identify and not as a place that hurts and oppresses people from other walks of life. Some other key things that the play touched on were, theater and religion, and the roll that art, can, should, and doesn’t play in society. In the talk back they brought in historical facts which gave the play a bit more historical context as well. The play did not change my personal views, but it did shed light on a subject that I do not think of often enough.

The captivated audience. (Adobe Spark stock images)

The Emotional Experience: A play provides a time and space to deal with the presented conflict, idea, or thought. The theatre is typically considered a pleasant experience, but can be uncomfortable in the moment if presented with opinions that don't align with our own. In our modern culture, catharsis is the process of releasing and relieving strong or repressed emotions. This is applicable to theatre because it gets people to think about taboo or controversial topics for an hour or two when they otherwise may never wonder about the presented topic.


Created with images by Unsplash - "audience crowd people"

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