The Divine BY: Daniel Nazarian

One aspect of the theater I found incredibly immersive was the fact that the lower seats were all surrounded by the stage. There were points where the actors would be right there with the audience, including a point where Sarah was right in front of me and talking right to me. This made the experience vastly more immersive and helps the audience feel as though they are a part of the play. This, I believe, is intended to allow the cast to evoke stronger emotions out of the audience as they now feel they are more invested in the show and more involved. The lighting in the show was also superb but serve more to set the mood or evoke certain emotions out of the audience. The fact that the auditorium was smaller made the experience more intimate as well which I think helps illustrate the meaning of the play since it is a very sensitive and personal subject.

I had the pleasure of experiencing both as I went originally alone but found a friend of mine during intermission and sat with them during the latter half of the show. They were different experiences however not vastly so. Watching with your friends is better after the fact as you have someone to talk about the show with and exchange ideas. However, during the show I would argue it’s better alone as comments and thoughts from your friends can influence how one views the show and I feel this is one better left interpreted on an individual basis as it is such a personal and intimate topic.

There were many themes expressed in the performance and I truly believe that everyone will have a different “central issue.” Personally, I think it was the idea of poverty and how society treats the impoverished. Before the play, I simply knew about poverty as it stands today and its effects on today’s society. It opened my eyes to how many of the same issues impoverished people face today, both on a fiscal and societal level, were always around. These aren’t new issues or “controversies” but rather undealt with issues from our history that people didn’t and still don’t want to talk about. It makes people uncomfortable a lot of the time as illustrated in the play and that’s something that carries over to today. It didn’t exactly change my views about anything related to the subject matter as I already and very sympathetic to the cause and care about this, however it did make me realize that while yes things were also not ideal back then, they’re definitely getting better. Impoverished people face many of the challenges illustrated in the play however many aspects are better. For example, when Leo died, there would (hopefully) be news coverage and outrage about such an event, so while unideal we’re definitely headed in the right direction. That all said, many could argue that the central idea of the play is about the theater or mass media, one of my friends argued it was about reality TV which while a little more far fetched actually made sense so I truly believe that every person will have different themes resonate more or less powerfully with them.

As mentioned earlier, the play talks about a lot of things that make people uncomfortable and generally aren’t spoken of so freely. Topics where many seem to hide from, like poverty, are battled and mentioned head on. These issues aren’t hidden but rather paraded to the audience for example through Misho when he talks about his play constantly and is being quite frankly very rude to the women and workers in the factory about their social and financial situation. By showing us, the audience, these faults in society and how even though we may not be able to fix poverty or help every impoverished person, we can still treat everyone equally and at least like a human. It addresses our faults and as I mentioned earlier, it shows our progress. While society today is far from perfect in its treatment of the impoverished things are vastly better than in the past when you had 12 year old working on the assembly lines for scraps and risking their lives daily Kids like Leo nowadays would have at least an opportunity to go to primary school and hopefully college, an opportunity Leo would’ve never dreamed of. I believe this is where the relief from this comes from as the play shows the number of ways that we still haven’t improved as well.

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