The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt By: Akshay Varsani

The High ceilings and art in the theatre helped set the tone for the evening.

The Spatial Experience: Walking into the theater is an experience like no other, as I climbed the steps up to the Constans theater I could see the people filing in. As the audience and I were ushered into our seats, the excitement grew inside me. The anticipation for the performance was growing, as I sat down the hair on my neck stood up as snowflakes from the set started to fall. I could examine the detail of the stage and expect an amazing performance. As I fell into my seat I had an amazing view of the stage as I sat in the middle of my row and the seating ascended the further from the stage, this gave every audience member a clear view of the play. The high ceilings and the low lights and the chatter before the performance had created a feeling of anticipation for the play. I felt as if my seating location, so elevated, gave me a unique perspective of the play, as every audience member should receive. When the lights dimmed and the audience's chatter faded away. I could feel my heart start racing and my eyes widen for the play to begin, the anticipation had begin to come to a climax as I was finally going to see the performance, and the silence that fell had shown the respect for the play to begin, which had helped enhance the experience. The size of the auditorium and the size of the audience had added to the grandiosity of the play and what anticipation I had feeling. Throughout the play there was laughter and the audience together, slowly became one, began laughing at the same jokes or fell silent at certain scenes. This had created a truly shared experience for the audience and myself. The role of place in the good life had really taught me the importance of how place can affect feelings and emotions and the lessons life may teach us. Siddhartha's final teacher was the river, the location was unique to his previous teacher as it was something he had never experienced or been taught before, the reflection and playback of his life. A change in location is a change in a comfort zone, we leave something we know in order to experience or feel something new and different. The role that location plays in the Good Life is extremely important in prompting an individual or driving them to feel and imagine.

A picture of me standing outside the stairs to the Constans theater.
Another picture of me entering the Constans theater.

The Social Experience: The two pictures above had shown me entering the theater, I was not able to go with any of my friends because they had taken good life before, but the experience with strangers was quite an experience. Before I had gone to the performance, I wanted to look my best. I had taken a hot shower and ironed all my clothes before deciding what to wear. When going to a play there's a sense or feeling of excitement that I felt I must match. By going to the play alone, it gave me an experience I could really appreciate as I was able to make new friends or talk to the people around me before the play had started. It created a sense of relativeness as we were able to relate and share this experience. The role of shared experiences in the good life is the ability to relate, understand and share feelings and emotions with others that would be different if we were alone.

The handout before the performance to inform the audience.

The Cultural and Intellectual Experience: The performance was set in December 1905, Quebec city. The introduction of the performance was the most striking because it had shown me a time I had never seen or imagined before. The amount of detail in the performance had really brought the whole event to a surreal level. It had helped me understand and see our culture in a new way because not only was it a time I could not imagine or country I have ben to, but it had focused on such a unique experience of individuals and a higher authority (the priest). The central issue surrounding the play was the fight against injustice and unfairness, the play had truly stressed the obliviousness of those around us and the abuse that may occur. Coming into the play I did not have much background knowledge on the play, but the events I had seen had truly affected my views. One of the most prominent features of the play, to me, was the experience of child work abuse in the factories. Growing up and learning in history class that there were horrible working conditions were always understood but seeing it acted and in a play, so realistically had really shaken me. I had come to an appreciation for those who fought for rights or the basic things that every person should have. It made me aware about the abuse of power and how wrong it is to benefit off of others' expense. In relating to the subject matter of the play and my own life, I can see how I should be much more appreciative of how fortunate I am in life, such as my parents to be able to afford my college education.

Entrance of the Constans theatre

The Emotional Experience: The Divine: A play for Sarah Bernhardt does give us an opportunity to experience katharsis, because though the problems and the setting of the performance were long before we could imagine. The idea of the performance was the ability to look at the actors and what they represented, everything humanity is and everything we refuse to acknowledge. That is the beauty of the play and give us, the audience, an outside view of a situation which we can then relate, compare and contrast to our own lives.

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