Visit to the Theater On Seeing The Divine: A Play for Sarah BERNHARDT

It was a Tuesday evening like any other...

Except I was in for a treat: a live theater production. I had been to a few shows when I was in high school, as well as one a local troupe put on in downtown St. Pete, so I have been around this atmosphere before. It was different from usual however, as I was accompanied by my friends instead of going solo to a show.

I didn't know anything about this play I was going to see though. Last semester I joined my friend to see the Nuremberg Trial production, assuming it would be in the similar vein. I organized my friends who were going to the show to dress up a bit; I myself donned a button up shirt and tucked into my khaki pants.

My friend Jeremy and I as we prepare ourselves for the play.

After getting ourselves together, I met one of my friends, Jeremy, for a quick bite at Broward. Afterwards, we got lost from our other acquaintances we were to meet up with, opting to just get straight to the Reitz as the clock was ticking.

As we approached the Constans Theatre, we took a quick pic to capture our enthusiasm. Entering the theater to get our seat, we found ourselves next to another group of pals. Our seats were in the perfect location, dead center almost, our line of sight allowing an immersive examination of the stage. Once the lights dimmed and we got ourselves settled, I felt the usual awe of the stage. The lights gone and the setting up opened us into this world the play was making, and it looked promising. Being comfortable with my friends, sitting beside them and snickering at the funny parts or analyzing things as they happen in real time was an experience I thoroughly enjoyed, though I promise to the reader we kept our volume to a whisper.

The shared experience contributes to the idea of the Good Life because, as I like to think, it is something made to be shared. I don't think, comparing my time with my friends beside me to when I've attended productions on my own, the latter impacted me as much.

The play itself helped me better understand Canadian culture in a way much like how I imagine our own nation was in the early 1900's. The Divine's setting of the factory and the seminary school also added layers of confronting differences in Good Lives that I hadn't thought of prior as well, as it made me rethink what it meant to be poor and have to fight for a Good Life. I come from a privileged background, being raised Catholic, and seeing the main characters face poverty as well as abuse from their elders is something that hit really close for me.

The Divine provided a means for katharsis in its conclusion. While it wasn't the happy ending one may have hoped for, the parting of ways by Michaud and Talbot stands as a central union, a kind of brotherly association, that I contend helps not only wrap the play up but also offer some amount of hope. Where they began as two opposites, they were able to become close friends over the play. While I think there was a bit too much engaging in the metaphysics of the play-within-a-play aspect of the production, I think Michaud stands as an endearing and earnest character we can role model behind, as one who is trying to find his Good Life much like Talbot.

Jeremy, Connor, Scott and myself after the show.

After the show ended, I stayed for the discussion with the cast and was happy to hear the actor who played Michaud's comments about the nature of the play, as a dismantling between what an individual wants and what is demanded of the individual by society. This play warrants a lot of conversation on its variety of themes, but this was one that struck with me. As we left the Theatre, we grabbed some Subway and sat discussing assorted aspects of the production. We all agreed, though we may have our own opinions about what some parts of the play represented, it is much like our class's central question: the Good Life is measured by what we want it to be.

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