The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt Good Life COmmon Activity

The Spatial Experience

(before play)

When I first walked inside Constans Theatre, I felt a little bit disappointed, because the outer waiting area doesn’t have the typical look or feel I normally associate with theatres. However, seeing all the other students crowded in line and chattering animatedly, quickly brought me back to feeling excited. I lucked into getting a seat fairly close to the front, and almost perfectly centered to the stage. I found that my good view of the stage made it a lot easier to get lost in the play as I was watching it, and made my experience far more enjoyable. After everyone had been waiting for a while, the lights finally began to dim, and almost immediately the whole theatre fell silent. This moment is one of my favorite parts of any show. I think it’s so cool that at any play you go to, good or bad, the lights will always dim, the audience will always hush, and the feeling of anticipation will always be at its highest point. During the show, the small size of the auditorium, made it possible for the actors to come off stage and into the audience, making the whole play feel more personal and real. I think this shows that a person’s environment makes a significant contribution to their overall emotions and experiences, therefore it has a significant place in the Good Life.

The Social Experience

I attended the show with a friend, as well as a few people I had just met. We met up in in front of Jennings, and I had to majorly rush to meet them on time, because I was coming straight from Lake Alice. Going to the show with friends was a far different experience than I would've had going alone. Being able to share the moment with others made the show easier to watch and enjoy, even when heavier moments were happening. Sharing experiences with others can bring companionship, comfort, perspective, etc., and ultimately has a significant impact on how we achieve the Good Life.

The Cultural and Intellectual Experience

Seeing The Divine helped me develop a new way of understanding a part of my culture as an American. I had already known that during the time period this performance took place in, factories illegally used children, as well as underpaid and mistreated their workers. I acknowledged the immorality of this, but never gave it much thought beyond that. However, by visually presenting this mistreatment onstage, the performance allowed me to truly feel the wrongness of what happened. Much of America's wealth was built upon the backs of the poor, and while the past cannot be changed, it should not be forgotten, especially when issues such as this are still happening. Around the world, there are still many countries who pay their workers next to nothing, and hire young children from families desperate for the money. American's may no longer directly participate in this, but we still promote it by purchasing items from these countries.

The Emotional Experience

The Divine provided the opportunity for katharsis through its bringing up and addressing of some of the negative aspects of humankind and society. Watching the aftermath of a person affected by both emotional and sexual abuse, on top of seeing mistreatment of children and the poor, is extremely is an extremely uncomfortable experience. It's very easy to ignore some of the "less-than-noble" qualities of society. However, putting these contentious topics on stage forces the audience to face them. Acknowledging the truth about society, as well as ourselves, can be difficult, but once we "come clean", we can move forward and hopefully better both ourselves and society.

(after play)

image source: http://www.biography.com/people/sarah-bernhardt-9210057

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