The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt By Matthew Sullivan

Introduction: "The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt" was set in early 19th century Canada. There were many prevalent problems regarding child labor and poverty at this time. Whenever I think about how I have no free time or how I have so much work to do, I realize how much better I have it than children 100 years ago. This play focused on a family which had to send their children to work in terrible factory conditions just to make enough money to put food on the table. The play was funny enough, yet had a serious undertone of real world problems which allowed the audience to leave the play with a different perspective of the world.

Ashlyn's Natural Beauty

The Social Experience: I went to the play with my girlfriend, Ashlyn. Coincidentally, we ended up sitting next to one of my friends from my pledge class in Kappa Sigma and his girlfriend. We didn't really do anything to get ready for the performance. I studied on the steps in the Reitz while I waited for Ashlyn to get there before the play. I always feel awkward showing any emotion or making noises out loud when I'm by myself, so being with friends allowed me to have the full experience of expressing my emotions when appropriate.

About to Walk into the Theater

The Spatial Experience: We sat near the center of the room. Last semester, in Theater Appreciation, we had to attend a few plays, and I felt like I didn't get a good seat during any of them. I was always sitting on the sides so I could see actors getting ready in the wings opposite of me but couldn't quite see what was happening onstage if it was on the same side as me. This definitely took away from the experience. However, for this play, we had great seats; they weren't too close, they weren't too far, and they weren't off to the side in either direction. This made the play much more enjoyable. I liked the size of this auditorium much more than the black box theater. I watched a play in the black box theater last semester, and there was about the same number of audience members as there were in this auditorium, but this auditorium didn't feel so cramped. Honestly, the spatial experience couldn't have gotten much better for me.


The Cultural and Intellectual Experience: One of the central issue addressed in this performance was hypocrisy. Brother Casgrain convinced the boy not to go to the police about how he was abused as a younger child. But, on the other hand, Casgrain was complaining about how children were working in poor factory conditions (another central issue). Without being too political, I think most people would agree that politicians, in general, are often hypocritical. I'll also just briefly say how unhappy I am with the current "Muslim ban" in the U.S. The United States boasts freedom, including freedom of religion... unless you're Muslim. It's a very unfortunate situation for a lot of people living in America today, and I hope that this problem is solved as quickly as possible.

Leaving the Theater

The Emotional Experience: As I said in the Cultural section, the hypocrisy in "The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt" is similar to hypocrisy in the government of the United States. I'm sure most people did not relate the hypocrisy in the play to the current government status of America, but it brought up emotions in me and reminded me exactly how hypocritical people can be and how much people and families can be. I think people can use this opportunity of Katharsis to see how this specific family was hurt because of the hypocrisy in the play and relate it to what is going on in the government. Maybe some people will change their views on current political topics; if this happens then the goal of the this play will have accomplished its goal.


Created with images by cr03 - "Theatre"

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