The Divine: A Play For Sarah Bernhardt By: Jacob henschel

The Spatial Experience: For starters, I didn't even realize that the Reitz had a theatre that large, so I was a little surprised when my GPS brought me to the Reitz. When I walked into the lobby, I was struck by all the beautiful artwork coming from the ceiling, and hung on the walls. After I entered the theatre, I was enamored by how gorgeous it looked, with all the different lights attached to the ceiling, and the great set up on the stage. I didn't know what to expect. I sat in my seat at 7:14, and the play was supposed to start at 7:15, but a minute passed, than five minutes passed, than ten minutes passed and the lights still hadn't dimmed so I was a little bit anxious. Soon afterwords, the lights dimmed and the play began. Overall the spatial experience is important in the good life because it provides excitement and anticipation towards the upcoming show or event.

The Social Experience: When I first picked my date to attend the play, I had agreed to go with a friend. Unfortunately, she had a scheduling conflict and had to change her time, so I was set on going alone to the show. When I got there, I was happy to see Michelle from my good life class, who also happened to be going alone, so we decided we were going to go together. At first I was a little sad to be going alone, but after I saw my friend at the theatre and had a familiar face to sit next to, my mood changed and I was instantly more excited to see the show. Shared experience is important in the good life because it can enhance your understanding of whatever you are doing if you have someone to ask questions to and discuss your thoughts with.

The Cultural and Intellectual Experience: The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt took place in Quebec City in 1908. Knowing that the actors and set-up of the play was supposed to depict life over 100 years ago, it was interesting to note the many differences from modern life that the play depicted. For starters, the actors and actresses, specifically the actress who played Sarah Bernhardt, used archaic language at times and different tones of voice to depict the setting. Sarah Bernhardt, in particular, would sing her lines rather than just say them to show what the actual Sarah Bernhardt was like. Also, it was interesting to see the costumes the actors and actresses were wearing as those clothes also helped depict the time of play of being over a century ago. The central issue discussed in the play was the impact religion had on personal expression particularly in art. Before attending the performance, I knew that religious censorship was prominent around that time period, but I never thought about the actual effect it had on people striving to express themselves in ways forbidding by the church. After watching the play, I realize the how lucky I am to have the opportunity live in this era of free expression.

The Emotional Experience: The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt provides the opportunity for catharsis in many different ways. One aspect of the play that struck me most was with Talbot's family working in the factory. First, the lengths that his family would go to help him succeed, working in a factory with terrible conditions, and even having Talbot's younger brother Leo (pictured above) working in the factory as well. It helped me think of how lucky I am to come from a family that does not have to struggle for my success the way Talbot's family struggled for him. I was also able to have catharsis from the point of view of the factory owner. From the audience, it seemed like the factory owner was a terrible person for paying his workers so little and hiring children to work in such an unsafe environment. When this was addressed in the play, it was noteworthy to hear the point of view of the factory owner. He believed that he was doing the right thing. He said that if he didn't hire those workers, someone else would and would probably treat them even worse. Also, he stated that he was doing the families a favor by hiring the children, because they would not be able to live without the extra income and having their children working was the only way they were going to get it. I had the opportunity for catharsis when this play ended to think about modern day people in factories in third world countries, and how much blame should go on the factory owners for those terrible conditions and child labor.

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