The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt By Scott Aronosn

The Spatial Experience:

Upon immediately passing the two giant doors to enter the theatre, I was overcome by the sheer size and grandeur of the site. The room was chilled, wide open with lights dangling from above. I could imagine the stories told on that stage, the love, the loss, anticipation hung in the air for the play as we all found our seats. We were lucky enough to be seated in the front section of the stage, where there was a sense of immersion as the stage extenuated out to right next to us. I remember hearing hushes as the lighted dimmed and the play began. In such a luxurious area it seemed this must be part of "The Good Life".

The Social Experience

The best part of any activity is sharing it with those which you associate with. For this event, I had the pleasure to be accompanied by Austin Leto. Having him with me made the event fun and more of a group experience. To prepare, we adorned our Sunday best and went to The Coop for a meal. After a wonderful feast we ventured to the theatre for the main event. We had a stimulating post play discussion on our walk back about the theme of the play, as well as our views on the social aspects portrayed by the events. I feel this verbal intercourse helped concrete my personal views on the play as well as my enjoyment of the actors portrayals. This goes to show that for any experience in life, in order to make it better bring a friend.

The Cultural and Intellectual Experience

Coming in to the theatre I had no prior knowledge on the subject of the play. With that said I found the topics intellectually stimulating and very pertinent to the times at hand. The play revolved around the plight of the lower class, and the seemingly total control that the boss showed to his workers. Before coming to the play I was already aware of the horrible living conditions of workers in factories in these early industrial times. From high school history I knew of the child labor and unconcern of the health of workers by the wealthy. This play added a new level of emotion and humanity to the dry facts I had learned. The play also involved the mistreatment of a boy by an elder priest and the struggle of the church to cover up his actions through bribery and threats. I feel this aspect really persists into todays times and made me feel empathy for the character. I felt pain for those who had experiences like this in real life, and may have been sitting in that very theatre. Even today companies try to hide unethical practices in order to sell their product for the cheapest price. This play really shines a light on how horrible proceedings can occur if business is left uncheck.

The Emotional Experience

In this production, there are several pivotal points where the viewer is confronted with situations that may cause discomfort. I felt this when it was first clearly revealed that the character Talbot was sexually mistreated as a child by a minister. The harsh reality of the play shocked me and made me empathetic with the character, and made me understand his negative attitude while on stage. In order to rationalize the purpose of this development in the context of the play I was forced to re-evaluate the morals of society and each character individually. It seemed the characters who were meant to be most pious ended up to be the most corrupt and immoral. This I feel can remain true even outside of the theatre. Everybody is not who they appear to be and the very hypocrisy of peoples actions can be surprising. It's these aspects of society which we were forced to watch and are forced to accept in every day life.

That's all folks!

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