The Divine: A Play For Sarah Bernhardt Michelle Ruggiano

The Spatial Experience

Outside and in the foyer of the Constans Theatre where the play was held.

When you first arrive at Constans Theatre, it is initially very captivating and fun from the blue and purple lights that are place in the hallway to the entrance. This makes you want to go in and helps with the overall mood of the theater before you even walk in. For me personally this made me more intrigued and excited to go in and see what the play was all about. As I walked into the auditorium where the play was going to happen, I was surprised by the size of the space. It felt roomy and there was space for the actors to walk around the audience and really make the audience feel like they are in the play. When the lights dimmed down and everyone in the audience started to quiet down, I became more excited to know what the play was about and to see it for the first time. As the play was going on, the size and floor plan of the stage and auditorium really made me more involved and affected my experience in a positive way. My seat was great, I was in the second row of the main seating area and it was a great place to experience the show. Since I sat on the end, the woman who played Sarah Bernhardt came right up to me and actually said some of her lines directed toward me which was a special touch to add to my experience. It was a great play and I was glad that I went and saw it along with all my peers. When people are in a good place, mentally or physically, their experience is enhanced and people are generally more happy. This helps to make their experience better and help their journey of the good life.

The Social Experience

Myself inside the theatre and also in front of the sign for the theatre.

When I attended this play, I went on my own. All of my friends had other plans or were not available to come with me but that did not inhibit my experience. I sat next to very nice people and I still enjoyed the performance overall. In a way, it may have been better that I did not come with many people that I knew because I was able to pay closer attention to the play and really see the detail they put into it. I was not distracted by friends taking or messing around but rather I was able to listen and understand the dialogue from the actors to help me understand the play as a whole. Although I think that in this particular situation, maybe being by myself was better, I think that having friends and family to experience life with is very important. Having people that you can share things with is something that is very critical in a persons life because it allows us to place meaning to the experiences and we can share them instead of keeping it to ourselves. It allows us to make connections and friendships that would never happen if we didn't go out of our comfort zone to do things with others. Shared experiences are the ones that are remembered the most and are what make people happy with the life that they have. These memories and experiences play a huge role in the good life and the way that people interpret their good life overall.

The Cultural and Intellectual Experience

Background from the program and Quebec City in the early 1900's (https://oldbrockvillephotographs.wordpress.com/2008/10/)

This particular play was one that hit a lot of historical points that may be sensitive to many people. One of the main issues that was addressed in this play was poverty. Much of the play was centered around the fact that the main character was from a poor family and how much of a blessing it was that he was going to be able to become a priest. The plays acts to shed light on the issue of poverty in the early 1900's and how that effected families and the children at the time. The play, along with bringing in the idea of poverty, included the harsh reality of child labor and how poor families would have their children working in factories in order for them to get enough money to live day to day. Before coming to the performance, I had never really thought about poverty and how that effected families in the early times since that is not as much of an issue in today's society. I knew that it was a very big problem during this time but I did not know the magnitude of it, which includes many children dying because of their working conditions. Although I have never experienced anything like this and am fortunate enough to have the necessary money for my family and I to live a good life, I feel that because of this play I will do my part to never judge someone by how much money they have and vow to never let children work when they should be out living their lives and being young. I learned much about the realities of many families from the early 1900's and the struggles that many families still face today and now I realize that if as long as I am able to help others in that situation, I will.

The Emotional Experience

Women Brick workers and child labor in 1905. (1. http://www.estherlederberg.com/EImages/Extracurricular/Coal/scan0043%20women%20brick%20workers%201905.html 2. https://www.thinglink.com/scene/565912233259827200 3. http://a-look-at-the-past-1905.blogspot.com/2010/05/child-labor.html

Katharsis is an idea that can be applied to the play, The Divine: A Play For Sarah Bernhardt. This idea has a very important role in the play because much of the story line leads up to the truth coming out about child labor and the harsh conditions that are brought upon the children and many of the families living in poverty at the time. The play centers around the actress Sarah Bernhardt who has had no interaction with anyone of the lower status and is one who would never know the lives of those who are living in poverty. The ending of the play allows the truth to come out about the children who have died working in the factories that are never spoken of and the way that the poor people really live and how they feel about their situations. Coming clean is something that will happen no matter how much one tries to hide it, just like the Boss tries to hide the deaths of the children and Leo, the brother of the main character who works in the factory. The press and majority of the public have no idea that this is what's really going on in these people's lives and that they have to risk their own lives along with the lives of their children, just to survive. This play brings to light the moral and ethical injustices that are brought upon the people of lower status and that they are never talked about or helped in their situations. It shows us that coming clean is inevitable and that some people's horrors are others' realities. Theatre brings up topics that are sensitive to some and that make people uncomfortable but they also unveil the truth about society and put the bad qualities of society on display to the world. As long as there are people speaking up and shedding light on topics that nobody else seems to want to talk about, then katharsis and the truth will always come about in order to help and better our people.

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Michelle Ruggiano
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