Good Life Performance The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt

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Pictures of me after and before the showing

The Spatial Experience

I was immediately surprised of how compact and tiny the theatre was upon entering it. I was seated in one of the front seats in the second section, right by the doors where the actors would enter if not by stage. Being there, the actors would literally be right next to me when not on stage, making the performance rather personal and engaging. I could literally see everything perfectly. I felt intrigued and drawn into the production when the lights went out and everyone went silent. The smaller size of the auditorium made the performance seem more personable and intimate with not as many people walking in and out and such. Location plays a major part in the Good Life as the way we interpret our surroundings, how they make us feel, influences what we perceive our ideal existence to be.

The Social Experience

I attended the performance with a friend from another Good Life class and also got to know the person sitting besides me a bit before the showing and between acts. To get ready for the performance, I made sure to wear something a little bit nicer and read up some more on Sarah in order to not get terribly lost during the production. Attending with a friend enhanced my experience by allowing me someone else to enjoy the production with as well as to talk about it afterwards. For many, including myself, sharing enjoyable experiences heightens the pleasant feeling and often becomes a part of our definition of the Good Life.

The Cultural and Intellectual Experience

The central issue addressed in the performance involving the protagonist, Sarah Bernhardt, was her dismay and disapproval for the same old traditional female roles in theatre productions and a need for reform and change. I knew a little about Sarah and her impressive theatric resume before the showing, but not very much on what parts of her life the tribute highlighted. The performance heightened my appreciation for the lengths early actresses like Sarah went through for us to be able to view the type of material we are privileged to today. I really hadn't ever given the topic any thought prior to the production. I'm not, and never will be, an actress, but what Sarah did for the theatre and for women in the workplace has reached even me. I receive the benefits of Sarah's efforts whenever I view a film or see a play as well in the shift of a woman's ideal role and image in society.

The Emotional Experience

The fact that the Divine manages to approach as many horrid and uncomfortable topics in only three hours is rather remarkable. From unreligious priests to underhanded professionals to child abuse and death, The Divine does it all. Theatre had become a safe place to openly acknowledge, criticize, and rewrite these wrongs through the efforts of those like Sarah Bernhardt. In other levels of society where people with the means to do something gather, such talk would have been seen as inappropriate and out of place, the theatre needed to be this avenue. In the play, Sarah comes clean about her true feelings regarding her current actress status, a promising writer finds his wings, and a wronged young man's tribulations come to light. The Divine most certainly provides society with a opportunity for Katharsis, just like it did for the infamous likes of Sarah Bernhardt all of those many years ago.

Created By
Caroline House


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