My experience at The Divine: a play for Sarah Bernhardt Meghan Neville IUF 1000

The Spatial Experience

When I originally entered the building I was dreading going to see the play. It was about 3 hours long plus intermission and all I could think about was all the other stuff I had to get done that week. My friends and I got there pretty early so we were sitting in the second row from the front on the right side, if you're facing the stage. As soon as the lights dimmed and the play started, I was immediately in the play. Sarah came out to welcome the crowd and all of her 'fans', walking through the isles. It was so abrupt and random that it couldn't help be get your attention. We were also so close that there wasn't any distractions from other people in front of us. Similarly, in the Good life, it really depends on where you are in the world. Are you somewhere where most of the attention is focused on you? Like growing up in the US as a kid where we find education important so everyone is making sure you're put in school and paid attention too. Or maybe you're in the back row of the Theater, and no one cares if you have your phone out or if you slip out half way through the play, like living in a third world country, and every one is trying to fend for themselves and taking care of themselves before even attempting to help or paying attention to other people. The role of spatial experience is huge in the Good life - directly effecting your growth, and indirectly effecting your destination.

The Social Experience

I attended the performance with my best friends. We all met up at our sorority house from either class, the library, or our dorms so we could walk over together and be seated together. Attending the performance with my friends made it seem less like an assignment and more like an entertaining outing with them. It also helped me remember specific parts of the play, especially in the first half. When the Play's mood was lighter - my friends would whisper funny comments into my ear, making the moments more memorable. When the mood got serious, and my friends wouldn't even turn to look at each other, it was a nice reassurance that you all had the same sympathetic opinion about the play. Sharing experiences with other makes them more memorable. Who cares if you got up on stage and sang to an empty auditorium? It something that gets lost in the memories, but getting up on stage with your closest friends and reenacting "High School Musical" is a memory fun enough to share at a wedding. It also strengthens relationships. When you both go to a funeral together, and comfort each other instead of just sobbing alone, creates a bond between you and your friend that other people who didn't share that experience wouldn't understand.

The Cultural and Intellectual Experience

The setting of the play takes place in the early 20th century in Quebec City. The central issue addressed in the play, in the overall message was the oppression of the Church and workplace in the early 1900s. In high school history we are told about illegal labor and how labor laws got created (when children were working and getting severely harmed or killed), and we touched slightly on the corruption of the church during this time period, but nothing specific. Watching the performance gave this issue a personal touch. We were able to follow the story line of the Talbot family, and when the younger brother died, you heard the knocking on the door - his cry for help. You knew why he was down there in the first place. It was truly a heartbreaking moment as your mind searches every possible way you can even fix a situation like this. And then again, the same feelings occur when Talbot reveals his past at his old Catholic school, revealing his bad boy act as his cry for help. I can say that I am blessed enough to not be able to directly relate to these issues, but it opens my eyes to the realization that there are bigger problems than your C on your Calculus exam, or being too tired to wake up for 9:00 am church on Sundays. I am blessed to be in college, and not have to work in a dirty place hiding from labor laws, and being able to speak up when I feel uncomfortable or scared without getting punished for it.

The Emotional Experience

My favorite part of "The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt," was the fact that weird, timid Michaud ended up being the hero, telling the cops what was going on, and making everything right - the way it should be, even though every bad situation that happened never physically effected him in a negative way. Michaud came clean when Talbot wasn't strong enough to, and Mrs. Talbot was too afraid to. The fact that this play addresses such strong controversial topics makes you really think about how you can come clean about some things you might repress. Talbot didn't come clean about the Ministry at his old school because he wanted to protect his mother and their future. The play gives us the opportunity to think about situations where we might look over the bad parts because changing them would change the good parts that personally effect us. The problems in the play are also so severe and grave, that you realize that your deep dark problems can also be helped or fixed, and you always have the opportunity for katharsis.

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