The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt Raffae Ahmad

The Spatial Expirience

The Divine was the first play I had attended since I was a child and this was my first time at Constans Theatre. When I walked into the theatre I was taken aback by its size, I had expected a larger area but in turn saw an intimate space between actor and viewer. I took my seat near the middle front area of the theatre with an open view of the stage. Being able to sit close enough to the stage that I could see the emotions portrayed on each of the actors faces added an extra layer to the dramatic tone of the play. Once the lights dimmed I was thrown right into the play and felt an active participant due to the actor’s proximity to me. The theatre’s role is to provide a place for discussion to occur, it allows a conversation involving a variety of taboo topics to begin. This place is vital in the Good Life as it allows reflection of daily experiences in society and time to contemplate their meaning.

The Social Expirience

I arrived outside the theatre and met up with three of my friends who were also attending the play. Before the play began we had read the synopsis and were intrigued. During the play, it was interesting to see my friend’s reactions, one was confused much of the time while the other leaned forward and watch intently. During the intermission, our individual takes of the play were varied, I quite enjoyed the play thus far while my friend was growing tired of its length. We were not aware of the length of the play at the time so were quite surprised when it ended three hours later. The shared experience allowed me to see which parts of the play resonated with my friends and how those connections were affected by who they are.

The Cultural and Intellectual Expirience

The play was set in the early 20th century and with that comes the struggles of poverty. This situation is not unique to that time and can still be seen around the world today. Dangerous working conditions and child labor still plague many countries. Alongside this issue was that of sexual abuse perpetrated by clergymen. I did not know much of the subject matter before attending the play and was surprised by its frank way of portraying it. The performance reminded me that even though these heinous acts have lessened in our society do to more outcry these acts still occur around the world. The abuse of children both sexual and that of labor is institutionalized and allowed to propagate unhindered by stagnant governments. In my own life, I have someone whom I care about deeply and who has told me about her own abuse. Seeing this portrayed on stage reminded much of the feelings she told me she had about those experiences and truly allowed me to connect to the character of Talbot.

The Emotional Experience

Plays like The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt allows for discussions that seem too taboo to even talk about to be brought to light. The play provides us the opportunity to realize how rampant sexual abuse by those in power still is. It provides a sense of relief that these acts are being spoken about now and not shied away from anymore. The katharsis comes from this realization that these acts now have a place to be spoken about without such stigma around it. To remove these defects from our society we must first acknowledge they are there to begin with.

Created By
Raffae Ahmad
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Image of theatre from: https://lucian.uchicago.edu/blogs/maph/tag/theater/ All other images owned by Raffae Ahmad

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