The Spatial Experience: Entering the Constans Theatre was for me, an exciting experience. Having participated in theatre all my life, going to a new playhouse or seeing a new set for the first time is always enjoyable. Although I had never been in the Constans Theatre, I felt somewhat nostalgic once I arrived. Being there really caused me to relive memories of being on stage and being able to portray someone who was definitely not myself. Acting has always been a fun hobby of mine and going to this play definitely made me want to make more time to act again. Sitting in the middle of the audience was nice but I would have preferred to have been a little closer. I think that the closer you are, the more you feel involved in what is going on throughout the show. When the lights dimmed and the audience quieted, I grew anxious! Normally, I'm the one on stage so the silencing of the crowd usually means "showtime!". This time, however, I was just an audience member. I was ancipipating the characters, what they would be like, etc. The size of the auditorium helped my experience a lot! Since I used to perform in a small town, I was used to a stage and audience that was very small and close. When I saw the size of the theatre itself, I really liked it. The bigger the stage and seating, the more intense and exciting the experience becomes, not just for me, but I'm sure for the actors as well. Atmosphere and place play a big role in the Good Life. The environment and climate that surrounds us on a daily basis can have a big impact on the way we think and feel. It affects us more than we realize!
The Social Experience: This play was the first play I've ever attended alone. This made the experience even more unique. To get ready for the performance, I did my hair and makeup and also strategically picked out something to wear. The evening I attended, I was rainy and it's also usually chilly in a theatre so I knew to dress accordingly. I feel that attending the show with friends would have heightened my experience because typically, you have more fun when you're in good company! Although I didn't attend with friends, I did sit next to strangers. This seems awkward initially but when you find yourself laughing along side them and enjoying the play, you feel a sense of connection. After the first act, I found a friend from my discussion group, Narrelle, so watching the second act together definitely made the play more enjoyable. In the Good Life, shared experiences are so important! Building community and making memories with friends or loved ones only adds to the value of the Good Life. However, I know that every now and again, it's okay to experience things on your own. Heck, Siddhartha left Govinda for years and years!
The Cultural and Intellectual Experience: This play taught me so much about history and culture, all while entertaining me with a well-done show. Before seeing this performance, I knew nothing about the early 1900's in Quebec City. I especially knew nothing about the factories, labor laws, working environments, etc. I knew of seminary but was aware of a more modern atmosphere. This play introduced me to the more traditional ways of seminary and what life back then was really like. The subject matter really taught me a lot about how unfairly people were treated. This helped me grasp the culture of Canada and the oppression people faced during this time in history. I think the tragedy of Talbot's brother was just a harsh reality of the daily life of factory work. This really disheartened me and made me consider how individuals of that time achieved a Good Life. Perhaps they didn't, and that is very unfortunate. Sometimes I can relate to Talbot. Coming from poverty, he goes off to try and make his family proud by becoming a priest. He knows he needs to make something of himself and has been given an opportunity to do so. Similarly, I come from a low income family and I will be the first from my family to graduate from college. I feel like maybe Talbot and I shared the same pressures of beginning a legacy or going on a path different than the generations before us, both striving to make our families proud.
The Emotion That Theatre Portrays
The Emotional Experience: This play does a really great job of providing us with an opportunity for Katharsis. By examining the lives of the characters, we feel compelled to examine our owns lives as well. We saw the uncomfortable or politically contentious aspects of the play, especially in regards to Talbot's experiences with the priest throughout his adolescence. Even if we, the audience, are unable to relate the that specific experience, we are able to relate to the ways the characters handle their trials. This is where Katharsis creeps in. By witnessing others come clean, we could often feel compelled to do the same, whatever that may mean for us personally. The Divine: A Play For Sarah Bernhardt really gives us that opportunity, especially in the climax of the performance when we heard Talbot confess and we see the reactions of the priest and of Michaud in the events that follow such an announcement. Because of the choices the characters make, we then think about the choices we must make in our path the the Good Life. This might mean confessing a burden that has been heavy on our heart, it could mean taking a stand and doing the right thing, even when that right thing is difficult to do. It could mean a number of things to a number of people and that's what I find so beautiful. No matter the storyline, theatre presents people with a conscious or sometimes unconscious opportunity to reevaluate ourselves, to perhaps come clean, and to make the choices needed in order to achieve the best Good Life we possibly can.