THE SPATIAL EXPERIENCE:
Upon entering Constans Theatre, I was surprised at how full it was. I arrived right at 7:15, so the seat I got was in the very back and on the left side. Due to my seat location, I found it hard to discern the facial characteristics and expressions of the actors, and there was a head in front of me often blocking my line of sight. In future visits to the theatre, I will be sure to arrive earlier. When the lights dimmed and the play began, I was captivated by the energy of the actors and their clear passion for the play. Their voices resonated throughout the large room despite the fact that no microphones were used. I also enjoyed how, in many of the scenes, the characters would walk among the audience and almost interact with us. Had the play taken place in another theatre, they may not have been able to do this. Therefore, location was vital to the success and personality of the play.
THE SOCIAL EXPERIENCE:
I attended The Divine with my friend Sarah. Tardiness is a common trait between us, and sure enough we both informed the other that we’d be arriving late, but luckily we arrived at the exact same time. Knowing that food isn’t allowed in the theatre, I ate a large meal in preparation for the performance. I enjoyed attending the play with a friend so that we could discuss the play afterwards, and compare what each of us liked and disliked about it. Had I attended alone, I wouldn’t have been able to immediately reflect upon the play and discuss it with someone else who noticed different things than I did. It’s much more enjoyable to share experiences with friends than to experience things alone.
THE CULTURAL & INTELLECTUAL EXPERIENCE:
The Divine takes place in early 20th century Quebec City. The performance centers around the influence of theatrical art in society, censoring art, religion's influence on cultural values, a loss of innocence, and secrecy. Before attending the performance, I had some knowledge regarding religious oppression and theatre. However, it was very interesting to view an example of the affect these can have on different people. I was exposed to the viewpoints of an underpaid child laborer, a sexually abused young man struggling to reach his goals, a mom working hard for her children, and an actress fighting against a church which wishes to censor her. This subject matter doesn’t relate closely to my own life, but it did teach me that everyone isn’t who they first appear to be, and therefore casting judgements can be detrimental.
THE EMOTIONAL EXPERIENCE:
Water, a common symbol for cleansing
The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt forces us to look at the ugly sides of humanity, such as greed, control, censorship, and lack of justice. However unpleasant this can be, it is vital to view humanity as all that it is, not just the positive side. The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt provides us with an opportunity for catharsis by forcing us to reflect on our own flaws and the flaws present in our culture. By admitting our flaws, we become one step closer to overcoming them. If this play had been focused on the positive attributes of humanity, we would be able to continue to ignore and remain ignorant of our faults. In this way, catharsis helps us evolve and improve.