The theater was a lot more impressive than I imagined. By more impressive I mean that the lighting, dark colors, and seats that increased in depth added to the overall feeling of growing excitement for what was to come. I always try to sit in the middle of auditoriums when I see shows because I believe that it gives optimal view of the show as well as the most enjoyable experience of the acoustics. As the lights went down and the lights dimmed, the people around me tensed and I noticed that I too had a rigid posture. I felt growing expectancy for something fantastic to happen in order to match the eloquence of the auditorium. Although I did expect a bigger auditorium, I believe it was adequate for the play. The stage itself held a lot of depth which allowed for vaster scenes. The role of place in the good life is purely aesthetic. It provides comfort in order to fully enjoy what happens.
The Social Experience
I attended the show with my friend Deepti. I got ready for the performance by straightening my hair and finding a dress that matched my boot that inhibited my ability to get to the play. Nonetheless, I found a way and my stress faded away when I realized I could spend an evening relaxing in the theater. Attending with a friend allowed discussion before the play, during intermission, and after the play. Shared experiences allow you to obtain different perspectives for the same situations. Shared experiences also allow you to have support around you.
My boot! Taken by a friendly peer.
The Cultural and Intellectual Experience
The central issue addressed in the performance was risque concepts that the Church disagreed with. At a period of time where these ideas were just coming about, it was expected for people to not endorse these ideas in order to protect themselves, their families, and their job security. I did not know who Sarah Bernhardt was and I did not know that Canada had such a connection with the church. The Divine depicts a tale of abuse at the hands of an older priest in which the details were kept in the shadows for many years. I did not know that it depicted an actual event. This play shows the destruction of innocence as well as exposes the heartless conditions of sweat shops and the poverty people existed under. I wouldn't say it necessarily changed my views, but it did change my attitude. Sarah Bernhardt was a woman who dared to say anything, and I think that the political correctness of this generation will bring about destruction.
The Emotional Experience
Sarah Bernhardt was willing to defy perhaps the most powerful figure in the early 20th century: the Church. It represents a stark divide, the Church, and the theatre. Here we see modernized, revolutionary ideas being put forth by media and the arts, a trend that continues to this day. The ability for the media to cultivate opinions and ideas has always been a tool employed by many groups and individuals. The theatre allows ideas and people to "come clean" in a more relaxed setting, where it seems okay to accept the ideas in the darkness of the theatre. However, the Church was alarmed because they believed, rightly so, that the ideas would come to light. The play represents the change of a century, as well as a change of ideas. As time goes on, people must realize that they personally choose what they believe and how they will behave. They should not act off of fear or media persuasion.
People awaiting to get inside. Photo creds: me