The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt Haitong Ni 02/02/2017

The Spatial Experience

When I went into the theater, walking along a hallway, I felt curious and excited. The design of the theater was simple but bright, making me comfortable. Hundreds of red chairs were placed in an orderly manner, and I sat in the third row, which was really near to stage. I was staring at the pink background when the light dimmed and audiences were quiet. The atmosphere was mysterious and everyone paid attention to the stage. I was a little bit nervous and expecting something happened. Because I sat in front the stage, I could see characters' faces and all details clearly, which is really helpful to understand the play, so a good seat is also important. Actually, the size of the theater did not affect me a lot since I sat in the front. But I feel like the theater was a little larger than the actual size of audience. I think a smaller size would be better. To be honest, the role of a place in a good life is to help engage in activities deeply. A right place for specific things enable people to immerse in the special atmosphere. People will be satisfied in some special places so that they can have a good life.

The Social Experience

I attended this play with my friend, Bowen Huang. We arrived at theater twenty minutes earlier and we took some photos. Before watching, we scanned the description in order to know the basic content of the play. While we watching the play, we would like to exchange opinions, and we could understanding the play better, because we explained to each other. Sharing experiences in a good life is extremely useful, because everyone need listeners. A good listener will help you think of something from different aspects, and others' opinions are also beneficial for personal improvement.

The Cultural and Intellectual Experience

The story happened on 1905, Quebec City, mainly talking about the obsession of the church and situations of children labor. In this play, two students from seminary interacted with the famous actress, Sarah Bernhardt. Mischaud was from a rich Canadian family, but Talbot was from a poor family. Mischaud adored Sarah, and he was a sincere theater fan of her, so he recorded lot of theater tips. In addition, Mischaud was innocent and inexperienced. Talbot's mother and brother worked in a shoe factory to raise Talbot, struggling in the poverty, and Talbot was ever abused by a priest for 5 years. But Talbot did not say what he had suffered due to church's press. At that time, church's authority and reputation forced people, which was really sad. Working in the factory, Leo, who is Talbot's brother, also was in a bad labor situation. But Leo and his mother chose not to complaint due to social pressure, and they had to make a living at that time. So obsession of the church and the bad treatment of children labor are central issues I saw from the play. Before I attended the show, I only know that in the nineteenth century, children labor was a big issue since people employed children by low wages and there were plenty of accidents. Employees' safety were not guaranteed. At that time period, Catholicism held the biggest power and dominant position in the society, which also controlled people's freedom. But now, I realized that how people experienced that dark time period. I feel like if individuals are always controlled by higher power, their faith, their beliefs, will be useless. Church is a place for people to feel the merits of their common religion, instead of hurting people who have the same religion. The play of the history changed my view and impression of church. I always think church is pure and beautiful, without dust. But I realize that church also ever was utilized not only as a symbol, also as a tool to control others' freedom. To be honest, I do not have personal experience relating to children labor or church. I never worked before and I do not have any religion. I do no really understand a relationship between a person's mental repository and a symbol, or the hardship of working early to a child. But I can still feel the pain that struggling of the poverty, the responsibilities and desperate feelings.

The Emotional Experience

Finished watching the play, I feel like those characters all have their own personalities that we should learn from. The theater is exactly the place for us to examine ourselves or come clean. I was impressed by Mischaud, who is innocent and inexperienced but also upright. His soul is clean and pure. He could persist on recording what he likes for a long time, and he has a enthusiastic attitude to learn. Most important, he was the person who revealed what happened on Talbot, when Talbot tried to disguise the truth. Mischaud's letter definitely showed the young man having his own rules, caring others. He was not only brave but also obey moral standard. Also, I am impressed by Leo. He was great and selfless, contributing himself for families without complaint, and finally sacrificed. Even he was a such young boy, his spirit was great enough for everyone to memory.

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