The Divine :A Play for Sarah Bernhard

Waiting in line, Looks like I wasn't the only early one

I have walked by the Constans Theatre numerous times, but its wasn't until I attended "The Divine" that I had a chance to really appreciate it. I arrived a bit early so I had the time to walk around the outside of the Theatre and I was taken by the harmony of it all.

The Spatial Experience

Even outside the Theatre itself, the artwork (pictured below) and the atmosphere was all reminiscent of my days of Theatre in highschool. When I walked into the Theatre I was surprised at how good of a mood I was in, considering I initially only went for the sake of this assignment. I was seated in the third row and as soon as I looked up at the black box theatre, memories of my own theatrical experiences on that same style stage came rushing in. As one thought turned into another as I waited for the play to begin, I found myself reliving many of the happy memories of my highschool years. As the show started up I found myself unusually cheerful.

Could this be because of the memories brought by the familiar setting? Are good memories not a vital part of the good life? The answer is YES. That why environment is so important to the "Good Life", its important to feel comfortable and safe where you are.

C for Constans?
Approximately two movies long

The Social Experience

Had I planned better, I would have gone with someone to the play considering a part of this assignment is called "The Social Experience". That could also be said about my amazing outfit, had I planned better I would've dressed more formally as Ms. Albert insisted on back in highschool. But it wasn't highschool and I've been in class since noon, so the trip back to my dorm was simply not happening...

Mrs. Albert would be disappointed if she knew I wore this to a play... much cozier though.

As I watched the play as intrigued as I was I noticed I was missing something. Every other play I have been to I went with a good friend which made the experience that much better. My friend and I would make periodic comments on the play (not recommended but definitely enhances the experience) and the ability to share your thoughts with someone is one I took for granted. Although I'm sure the girl next to me was lovely (I think her name was Ashley?) I don't think she would have appreciated me talking to her throughout the play. All this said, it comes back to comfort and security. Something that comes from the ability to share with others, especially those you are most comfortable with. This ladies and gentlemen, is a fundamental aspect to the "Good Life".

I found my friend, but it was Already intermission

The Cultural and Intellectual Experience

Despite the fact that I dismissed anything I learned to do before a play, once it started I went into full thespian mode. Overanalyzing the lighting and staging, nitpicking the acting and so on. I analysed the show to the point where I think it would be appropriate to switch to bullets to fully convey my thoughts, so here we go

Quite the Informational Brouchure
  • The plot of the play took place at turn of the 20th Century in Quebec City, Canada. This in itself was a major cultural experience. Many people think Canada to be much like America, which you may be able to say about the English speaking parts like Toronto, but Quebec is like a whole other Canada.
  • Another great Cultural component is the contrast between wealth and poverty. Although not the normal context people think of with "culture", it may be one of the most relevant. The clear contrast between two of the lead characters was made apparent at once, one poor and one wealthy. The wealthier of the two amazed at the story of the less fortunate.
  • In all honesty before the performance I had no clue who Sarah Bernhardt was, and I can't confidently say I know who she is now. I did however have plenty of background on working conditions at the turn of the century (shoutout Mr. Gray)
  • The performance didn't really change my views on any of the issues presented, as I already had decent background on them. The play did however reinforce the views I already by providing a visual for me to associate with what I already knew.
  • The play didn't personally relate to me as I'm neither poor or wealthy, or a women. I did however appreciate the political consciousness it provided on the situation of gender inequality. We see that all the workers at the factory were women, but we also see the exploitation of young children for work. All in all the play did an excellent job in exposing the reality of the appropriate time period.
Hitting the Kodak on my way out the Theatre

The Emotional Experience

The actually really enjoyed the play, and the intermission was placed perfectly before the plot dramatically changed. Its a beautiful piece showing the struggle of honesty when honesty hurts. Its challenges the very nature of humans as self serving as we see each character doing what they think will be best for them in the end. Its shows the destructive nature of an ongoing lie, as we see many of the characters caught up in a situation of their own doing. The play truly demonstrates "katharsis", the greek word for coming clean. We see this in many characters including my personal favorite Michaud who was "hiding" his love for theatre. The overlying message of the relief of being free of worries is truly a happy state of mind. (The Good Life?)

Does anyone know who this is?

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