The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt By Caroline lamoutte

The Spatial Experience

The Constans Theater

Before going to watch The Divine, I had never stepped foot into the Constans Theater. I was genuinely impressed with the authenticity and grandeur of the theater. I was expecting a much more elementary version of the set design and theater overall but instead was met with a professional-looking setting. We sat to the far left which hindered the central view a little. After waiting for 30 minutes, the lights finally dimmed and I got excited to see if the play itself would be as professionally done as the set design. The medium size of the auditorium and the fact that most of the seats were taken helped set the mood and added to my positive impression. Place contributes to the Good Life by adding to our satisfaction or dissatisfaction. If we like the place where we are and the atmosphere it presents, we are more likely to be happy. Therefore, we should choose pleasant places to be so as to increase our likelihood of being happy.

The Social Experience

I went to the performance with close friends of mine. To get ready for the performance, we made sure to get dressed appropriately and eat beforehand. The communal atmosphere both before, during, and after the performance made the night very enjoyable and gave us a shared memory that we could reflect upon for days to come. This enhanced my experience because it made even the "in between" moments enjoyable. For example, while we waited for the show to start, we had a chance to talk and joke around. Shared experiences contribute to the Good Life because, for me personally, I am happiest when I spend time with people who are close to me. Therefore, by being able to share more and more experiences with them, I am helping myself achieve the Good Life.

The Cultural and Intellectual Experience

One of the main central issues addressed in the performance was the hard working conditions in the Quebec of 1905. I had read plenty of textbook passages regarding the horrible working conditions in the United States during the Industrial Revolution but I had no idea those conditions continued through the early 1900s. After watching the performance, I started to think about the unfair working conditions. The play made these working conditions emotionally real by getting us attached to Leo an then having him die from a factory accident. The play made me aware of this very real issue and made me consider what I can do to stop this from happening in sweat shops overseas. I could not imagine loosing my brother or sister due to an accident where they work.

The Emotional Experience

The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt provides us an opportunity for katharsis by giving us a very raw and real visual about the clashes between higher and lower socioeconomic class individuals. It also presents us with Talbot's inner struggle that he deals with throughout the entire play. The value of theater with these issues is that with theater, there is no need for a filter. The playwright has the ability to present whatever issue he or she wishes and can insert emotional circumstances so that the audience feels a certain way towards that issue. Because I was so emotionally invested in Leo's character, it made an impact on me when he died and I started to consider the circumstances that put Leo in his difficult position. I "came clean" after watching this play because an issue that I had always thought of without any thought to emotion suddenly became very real to me and helped me consider what some real solutions may be.

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