My Trip to View "The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt" By sarah strothman

I went to see "The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt" on one of the first nights of its opening, and I had a great experience watching the play. I hadn't been to seen a play since I was young and in elementary school, so I didn't quite know what to expect from the experience, but it wound up being a wonderful depiction of the story, and I had a great time as a spectator.

Photos of the Contans Theatre

Prior to this experience, I had never before visited the Constans Theatre. Upon walking up to the theatre I was slightly intimidated by its large stature and many doors, seeing that I did not exactly know where I was going. Eventually I found my way in, and was surprised at the warmth that the inside of the theatre exuberated. The lights were subtly lit, and there was a beautiful rainbow glass sculpture hung towards the lobby as shown in the photos above. I proceeded to check myself into the show, and I was seated in the third row from the top. The auditorium was warm and inviting, and I was ultimately surprised at the small size, as I was expecting it to be larger. Once the lights dimmed and the opening music began to play, I could feel excitement rushing though my body, and I was very excited to see the play begin. In terms of the good life, I believe that place has a lot to do with achieving happiness, although an unhappiness with place can be overcome. If you are not happy and content with your surroundings, you may experience a continuance of unhappiness that would thus translate into your everyday life. Place can evoke emotion from people in a way that nothing else can, and I believe that place and atmosphere greatly influences the journey to finding one's good life.

Photos of myself attending the Good Life performance

At first I planned to view the play with a group of my friends, but I instead decided to go by myself to view the play. I chose to go alone because I felt that I would gain a richer understanding of the play if I weren't accompanied by anyone to distract my attention away from the performance. I do not feel as though I would have had an enriched experience if I had chose to view the play with my friends instead, because in my own personal journey for the Good Life I value my alone time to a very high degree. Shared experiences are important, but learning to appreciate art and life in general on your own is vital as well.

Information Booklet provided at the performance

Before entering the theatre, I had no idea what the play was about. I had several minutes after I was seated in the auditorium before the play began, so I read the pamphlet that had been passed out. I learned that the central issue that would be addressed in the performance would be the inequalities between social classes in Canada in the 1900's. I was slightly concerned because I knew nothing of his topic, but Watching the performance allowed me to broaden my views on social divides in general. I have learned quite a bit about the social structure of America and the challenges that those in poverty experience here, and I thought it was interesting how that struggle translated to Canadian culture as well. Thankfully, I have never personally had to struggle with dealing with poverty like those shown in the play, but I have done lots of research about those in poverty through my anthropology classes, and this play further elaborated on my knowledge of that.

A photo showing myself post-performance

The performance of The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt highlights the power of the church in society, unveiling all of the awful things that happen behind closed doors in the small town, which has allowed its characters to come clean and display katharsis by revealing their true inner selves as shown through their actions. Talbot's journey towards a better life for him as well as his family is depicted, shedding light on the role that the church has in this journey. Some have critiqued this play as being insulting to the state of the church, as well as politically disrespectful based on the portrayal of authority. Personally, I believe that katharsis can also be experienced by the audience when they see just how hard it is to experience true, unmasked poverty, while they sit in a comfortable theatre and watched scenes of poverty being played out in front of them.

Created By
Sarah Strothman

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