The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt sparks story assignment

Spacial: Walking into the Constans Theatre, I felt a strong sense of anticipation. I had never been in the theatre before and knew very little about the production going in, so the experience was totally fresh and new for me. The theatre itself is somewhat small, creating a sense of intimacy within the audience and between the audience and the stage. This connection with the environment was enhanced even greater due to my close proximity to the stage from my seat. The idea of place or position is often directly associated with the good life. Often, being in a good financial, professional or regional position is considered the pinnacle of having a "good life." In my opinion, however, the good life is about more than where you are in life and more about who you are in those circumstances.

photo via Foresight Construction Group

Social: I attended the performance with my roommate, who is also taking the Good Life this semester. She and I got ready for the performance and rode over together. Attending the performance with a close friend helped me to link my thoughts on the play to my real life. The ability to have common life experiences creates an important sense of community. Having a community is extremely important in the good life because it allows us to anchor ourselves to our own experiences. Additionally, by seeing how shared experiences impact people differently, we are able to better understand one another.

Cultural/Intellectual: Going into the performance, I knew very little about the actual storyline of the play. This play undoubtedly covers some extremely intense topics that, while present in our society, seem to go directly against many of our cultural standards. In society, religion has grown to take on many faces for different people, but largely, the idea of people who live deeply religious and moral lives tends to be something that is considered respectable and laudable. However, in The Divine, we see a darker side of religion. The worst parts of humanity pervade all people and institutions, even those that are considered to be "holy."

photo via Amazon

Emotional: The Divine forces us to look at the very worst of humanity. Too often in society, we are willing to overlook what is painful for us in order to be more comfortable. It is not until we are able to face both our darkness and the darkness within our society that we can truly deal with difficult truths. "Being human and being happy" is more than appearing "okay" on the surface. Like our world as a whole, individual lives are full of difficulty and pain, and we have to confront that pain or it will rot us away from the inside out. If we are to obtain katharsis and "come clean" as a society, we have to acknowledge our own darkness and the fact that darkness can be found in anyone or anything. Like in The Divine, we see that no group is inherently morally superior than any other, and justice should always be shown on evil, no matter where it is hiding.

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Emma Witmer
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