The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt Brittany Hawkins - Strictland

The Spatial Experience
Outside of the Constans Theatre anticipating the show!

I have only ever watched recorded theatrical performances so I have never had the personal experience of watching a show live. I had also never been to the Constans theater before, so I enjoyed seeing the layout of a theater for the first time. I had a seat to the very left of the stage which allowed me to have a good view and an excellent experience. As the lights were lowered, I became anxious and excited to see the show because I did not know what the show was going to entail. The immediate hush among the large audience made me feel nervous as if I were the one performing on the stage. The theatre is a sanctuary for both the actors and the audience as it enriches one’s life by combining arts, culture, and social issues. The role of place of the theatre of the Good Life functions to enhance our knowledge of the world like travelling to different countries.

The Social Experience
Attila and I waiting for the show outside of the Constans Theatre in the Rietz Union

I went to the show with one of my best friends, Attila, who made my experience even better. Attending the play with my friend alleviated the stress of managing the crowd and finding a seat in a large auditorium. We prepared for the performance together by reading and researching background information and summaries of the play. Going into the show, I felt confident that I understood the information enough so I could enjoy the experience rather than be confused about the plot for the entirety of the performance. My friend and I also taught ourselves about the etiquette of dress for the performance since neither of us had seen one before. Sharing these experiences allows the Good Life to be a reality because it not only connects people and the world and exposes people to other perspectives.

The Cultural and Intellectual Experiences

The performance demonstrates multiple issues which it sees in the world. The central issues of the performance include loss of innocence, the inequalities found within social classes and religious systems, and the cathartic nature of the theater. Before attending the performance, I had limited knowledge about the topic. For instance, I did not realize that satanic companies continued to exploit children and families after child labor laws had been passed and that the Catholic church actively denied and avoided injustices which occurred within it to preserve their holy nature. The performance resonates with the audience after the performance because it allows you to contemplate previous and current injustices such as in countries which do not enforce child labor laws. The performance brought to light injustices which occur within my society and in others. This instilled in me and in the audience the idea that these injustices need to be addressed and corrected or the exploitation will continue to occur due to our own ignorance.

The Emotional Experience
I love this theater and the performance! It was both beautiful and thought provoking.

The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt is cathartic because it allows us to explore the moral responsibility that we hold as capitalist consumers. At the beginning of the play, many audience members would say that they do not support or enable exploitation of children in sweatshops, but the performance forces us to address that we do contribute to the problem when we purchase the very material goods that children slave to produce in developing countries. The show enlightens the audience that we not only contribute to environmental exploitation when buying material goods from certain goods but we also impact human lives. It led me to think a lot more about the human impact of the things that I buy, and how the manufacturing process shapes the lives of people, especially children, in third-world countries. This led to the revelation that while I denounce child labor, I contribute to it by living in a materialist society that almost requires things made in sub-human conditions. Thus, it forced me to “come clean” by admitting to myself that I have contributed to this problem. To address this, I have looked into organizations which support anti-child labor and provide material goods.

Informed Consent is Important - Written Permission for Photo Usage
Attila's written permission to include his photos in my presentation
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Brittany Hawkins
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