Experiencing "The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt" BY: Patrick Lim


I attended the performance for "The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt" on January 20, 2017. Attending the performance was a very unique experience. I enjoyed the play; it was interesting and humorous, and unlike other plays, I was able to understand what was going on. I would recommend this experience to others.

Entering the Constans Theatre

The Spatial Experience:

As I had never been in the Constans Theatre prior to the play, the building was very foreign to me. I opted to following the large crowd of people, in hopes of finding my way to the theatre. The lobby of the theatre felt very crowded; the line of Good Life students went out the door. After finally getting into the seating area of the theatre, I ended up getting a seat that was centered relative to the stage. It was a good seat, and my view was not obstructed in any way. In terms of the role of place in the Good Life, I'd imagine getting a seat that caused one's view to be obstructed would dampen the overall experience of the play, lessening the Good Life experience.

Seated with a copy of the Playbill

The Social Experience:

I originally planned on attending the play with a group of friends, but due to a change of plans, I had to change my ticket date to one day earlier. As a result, I did not know anyone while watching the play. The only way this affected my experience was my experience waiting in line to be admitted into the theatre. Because talking during the performance was frowned upon, not having a familiar group of people next to me did not really affect my experience. The role of shared experiences in the Good Life is important, because having a familiar group of people allows you to discuss things about the event during the moment, enhancing the overall experience.

The Cultural and Intellectual Experience:

The setting of the play was the early 1900s in Quebec. The play's theme centered around the clash between social and religious views during the time period. A notable part of this theme was the church's disapproval of the Sarah Bernhardt and her roles in her play. I had some prior knowledge to this issue prior to the performance, as the church has generally been very conservative in the past. The themes and issues presented in the play does not really have any parallels relating directly to my own life, but there is no doubt that these themes have been present in today's society.

Leaving the Constans Theatre

The Emotional Experience:

The performance "The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt" provides an opportunity for katharsis because it is a theatre performance. Performances allow us to speak our minds clearly and discuss topics which may be taboo or socially difficult to address. This can be done through the dramatization of topics through acting, and by addressing these topics through underlying themes throughout the play. This performance allowed us to discuss the underlying theme of religion's affects on society, which often is a difficult topic to discuss in daily life.

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