The Divine: A Play for sarah BernharDt

The fairly newly remodeled Reitz Union is quite the host to the Constans Theatre. Both the enormous entrance of the front lawn with the expansive glass windows and the back pond and grand staircases give an elegant first impression to the theater. The Constans Theatre itself had a pleasant interior decor. The various sculptures and works on display in the lobby provided interesting relief both before and after the play. In the auditorium, my seating was in the left column and towards the back. The distance provided a unique perspective however, as I could view the entire stage without having to turn my head. The size of the auditorium allowed the actors to roam between the seats and add an entire three dimensional aspect to their performance. In contrast, the space was also small enough that the actors didn't have a need for microphones. The sound movement and their exceptional skills with voice projection allowed for an experience to the audience that wasn't tainted by speakers and extra "inhibitor" devices. Space in the Good Life, just as in the play and the auditorium inhabited, allows for the audience's experience to be radically changed and compounded as well.

I attended the play with a few of my close friends. We ate dinner together before hand as to not have the distraction of food while at the play. It was interesting for me that we all went to the play for the same reason. Strangers and friends alike. It was strange because we were all there for a grade, whether we enjoyed it a lot. Many audience members left at intermission which was interesting as well. It was funny to see the lack of interest in a culture other than that which was immediate to them. I didn't see it at the time, but I realize now that this is a sort of lesson for myself. The Good Life is about what you make it. The people who surround you will have their own ideas, and nobody's opinion is necessarily bad, but it is up to you to stand firm in what you believe and go with your premonitions.

I am completely different from the characters in the play. An then again, not so much at the same time. Rather than the central issue, the issue that I most identified was the issue of wrestling with demons and revealing the person you really are. Being vulnerable.

Vulnerability is something that this play valued. Its humanity and the struggles that we go through that this play brought to light. I have no idea what it would be like to live during the industrial revolution, as a poor person, in Quebec, but that doesn't mean that I don't have a fundamental understanding of what it means to struggle and be human. The issue of the rape by the priest is one that I cannot fathom the pain of. I have a friend who has undergone a similar horrific experience that has left her wondering who she is and how to act. In speaking to my friends about the issue afterwards, it became clear what a taboo subject matter it is and it saddened me. It is a real, prevalent issue, across time periods, and still, it is hush hush because of the implications.

Katharsis

This comes back to the conversations that were opened up to my friends and I. In a situation where we'd never discuss the issues presented in the play, we were suddenly exposed and available to talk about the tough situations acted out. I think, because none of the play's material is immediately real to any of us, we were able to openly discuss the implications and the problems associated with it. None of us had to be the brave soul to bring up an issue as heavy as those presented. Instead, The Divine made it easier.

Credits:

all images were taken by myself on an iPhone 5s

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