Good Life: THE DIVINE Riley Freese - IUF1000 Hybrid


Me and my friend Avi about to walk in to the performance at Constans theatre. We were excited and optimistic about the performance.

The day of the performance when I researched where on campus I would need to go, I was surprised that Constans was in the Reitz Union. I always imagine the Reitz as a central hub for food, activities, and studying. It was odd that I had been in it multiple times without noticing a huge theatre attached that many students' majors are devoted to. When I entered the auditorium, I was not as surprised, as it looked like any other theatre I have been to. The stage was set up with huge church-like windows in the background. As the performance got closer to starting, fake snow came down from the top of the stage. These physical settings of the theatre made me feel tranquil. I was seated in the second row of the performance, so I was very close to the stage. I often looked up at the actors instead of straight forward to see them. This gave the effect of being an ant within the scenes, witnessing events unfold from below in an invisible point of view. When the lights dimmed and the audience quieted, I felt antsy to be introduced to the characters of the play and the time period in which it was set. The size of the auditorium was very large and it contributed to my experience by making me feel like I was not alone. Many people were laughing/gasping/responding just like me. Place is pivotal in the Good Life because it is the base from which you are able to attain happiness. Without a secure and safe place, the Good Life is almost impossible to achieve.


This is a selfie of me and Avi waiting in line for our UFID to be scanned before we entered the performance. The night we went was a "Good Life Class Only" showing (which we found out when we tried to get a friend who wasn't taking Good Life to join us).

I attended the performance with my friend Avi. We have been friends for many years and we generally like to attend plays, sports games, etc. together. Before the performance we got food together and walked over together. We read over the materials on Canvas before going. Going with Avi enhanced my experience of the play. I always have found laughing to be contagious. During funny moments in the play Avi and I would laugh together and experience the moment. Often during the performance I found myself making eye contact with Avi and exchanging glances to signify that we both related to the moment in the play. Shared experiences like these and very important to the Good Life. Being able to relate (and be related to) by others helps people feel important and normal. When two or more people can relate to something it brings joy and human connection that is unbeatable.


This is me handing in my UFID to the Constans staff so I could get it scanned before the performance. I told her afterward that I took the picture for my project and she consented to the use of it.

This performance helped me develop a new way of seeing and understanding my own culture by allowing me to compare workers rights issues of the past and present. The story takes place at the turn of the twentieth century in Canada. During this time, women and children were introduced into factories to work for their families. This is a major theme/topic in the performance. The play depicts a young boy and his mother working for pennies a day at a shoe-making factory that has horrible worker conditions. One of the climatic moments in the play is when the young boy hides in an underground cellar while a celebrity visits to avoid anyone finding out how bad the conditions are for him. He bangs on the floor to get out but is ignored. He ends up dying in the cellar. I knew about women and children in factories during this time period before coming to the performance. To see the actual effects of long hours, underage workers, and unsafe conditions in this play changed my view on just how bad things actually were. There was little justice for these people, because even when government inspectors or journalists came in, the operation's conditions were covered up and made to seem better than they actually were. While the subject matter does not have a relationship to something happening in my own personal life, I do know about the poor workers rights in countries like China and Bangladesh. This made me more inspired to fight for people who are stuck in an unfair job that is harming their health.


This was taken after the performance had ended and we were waiting for the actor talk back to begin. Avi and I enjoyed the performance but for different reasons.

Working conditions (especially at this time) are a topic that is socially uncomfortable and politically contentious. This performance gave the audience an opportunity to look at itself to examine its less-than-noble qualities and in the process to ‘come clean’ about what it means to be human and to be happy. While there really is no happy ending (the protagonist's brother dies and no justice is given to him for his molestation), there is still a Katharsis, though. The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt provide us an opportunity for katharsis just by informing us about the abuses of workers and sexual harassment in the Catholic church. This new understanding and newfound angst about maltreatment and oppression jumpstarts us to act and see things in a new light.

Made with Adobe Slate

Make your words and images move.

Get Slate

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.