The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt By Paul Calzada

the Spatial Experience

As I entered the auditorium, a sense of amazement came upon me as I saw the vast amount of seats and the high ceiling. I decided to sit in the front row, which deeply enhanced my experience. I could see the tears and sweat of the actors and actresses. My position truly allowed for a better recognition of emotions in the cast. Honestly, as the lights dimmed and the audience silenced, I became very excited. I am a huge fan of the theatre so this dimming had a prominent effect on me. The large open auditorium definitely added to the ambiance, allowing the sound to fully develop around the room. Of course, with my seat in the front, I could hear the cast's lines without a microphone which was phenomenal.

Place is truly a significant factor in the Good life. It is common for humans to develop interesting connections with locations where pleasing events have transpired. These areas bring joy and tranquility to people and definitely enhance their lives. Thus, the locations develop into holy or sacred places in our lives, as we consistently reminisce on past events there. This is powerful because people may have different places which remind them of what makes them calm and welcome. These enhancements allow for a better life.

The Social Experience

It truly was a unique experience to view "The Divine: A play for Sarah Bernhardt" with my friends. To prepare for the performance, we read the information booklet and discussed what could potentially occur or develop throughout the play. As I became excited, I could see the anticipation growing in my friends as well. My attendance with friends truly amplified my experience. This is due to the rather long and substantive conversation we had following the play. We discussed themes and character development, and we even related the events to today's world. This discussion with people close to me aided in my understanding and enjoyment of the work.

Shared experiences are critical in the good life. Each person sees the world differently, and the ability to converse common events with differing opinions is remarkable. Without these differing analyses, other perspectives may remain hidden, and the true understanding of the piece may never be revealed. In life, this is critical. Communicating common experiences is what can shape how we see and live in the world. Also, experiencing emotional events with others form stronger relationships, which are paramount to the pursuit of having a good life.

The Cultural and intellectual experience

The play actually provided me insight into particularly interesting traits in our culture. The constant seeking to care for the family seems to dominate the early American ideology. For example, Talbot clearly desires to become a priest to provide the funds to quench his family's hardships. I now understand this was a critical aspect of the American culture and still is today. A central issue described within the piece is the many difficulties imposed on workers by big business. Leo's death clearly sparks this theme. I actually knew nothing about the performance before I entered the auditorium. I believe this added to my enjoyment of the play.

The play definitely opened my eyes to the issues workers still face all over the world. The extreme conditions which workers endure lead to deaths and crushed families like the Talbots. In my life, I am feeling a strong desire to develop my skills to aid in my families safe and serene living. I share this yearning as Talbot does in the play. I noticed this as I watched the performance and am truly shocked at how much it applies to our present world.

The Emotional experience

There are many moments in the play where katharsis is clearly developed. One critical moment is the death of Leo. The audience develops an attachment to Leo as he desires to fight back against the powerful business establishment. His death symbolizes a direct elimination of the rights of the workers. This clearly "socially uncomfortable", because the audience understands present injustices within labor forces around the world.

Another moment which sparks katharsis is Sarah Bernhardt's ignoring of the Archbishop. Clearly it seems as though theatre vs. religion ends in the victory of theatre which is "religiously irreverent" in the eyes of many in the audience. This discomfort adds to the emotional purging occurring in the theatrical environment. I truly enjoyed this play's development of katharsis and am anxious to see more at the Contans Theatre.

Citations

1. The Divine:A Play for Sarah Bernhardt. 2015. Toronto Star. Thestar.com. By Richard Ouzounian. Web. 05 Feb. 2017. <https://www.thestar.com/entertainment/stage/2015/07/25/the-divine-a-play-for-sarah-bernhardt-holds-harrowing-moments-but-doesnt-quite-jell-review.html>.

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Paul Calzada
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