Divine or a test of time? A review on The divine: A play for sarah bernhardt

Gangidi, Suma. "Suma at the Theatre." 2017. JPG

The Spatial Experience: Walking into the Constans' Theatre, my first thought was, "oh my, do I have to wait in such a long line to get in?" However, the wait to get into the theatre was not that long, and it really gave me time to conceptualize and interpret the modernism of the theatre lobby. The contemporary art put around the lobby enhances the sophistication of the space, making me feel severely underdressed in the process. Once we had gotten into the theatre, as I went with two other friends to the play, I was astounded. The semi-black box setting of the theatre stage really helped the audience feel as though they were part of the play. Well, at least that's how I felt sitting near the front of the theater, on the same platform of the stage. The door where the actors came in, just to my left. When the play started, and an actor/actress came in through that door, right to my left, I was amazed, as the proximity made me feel even more connected with the play. This further enhanced my understanding of the play, and the relation of the play to the good life.

Gangidi, Suma. "Yes, that's Suma laughing at a joke made by her friends." 2017. JPG

The Social Experience: Going to the play with friends definitely made the play more enjoyable and more comfortable. I was able to share my spontaneous thoughts and questions with the person sitting next to me without hesitation. The shared experience gave both me and my two other friends a similar spatial experiences in which we could discuss with other members. After the play was over, in the lobby, we had met a few other friends who had watched the play as well. As we were discussing the play, the diversity of our experiences in relation to space was tremendous, and helped to keep the conversation going, due to our essential shared experience. This shows how differences in our shared experiences helps us understand others better, and in essence understand what the good life means to each individual. Noticing certain qualms and idiosyncrasies of the play was comforting, coming from another friend, and really made the experience, or rather after experience, that much more enjoyable.

Gangidi, Suma. " A renaissance of American Culture." 2017. JPG

The Cultural and Intellectual Experience: The story had taken place in Quebec City at the turn of the twentieth century, when the industrial revolution was in full swing and changing the physical, social, and emotional dynamic left and right. The central issue in the play was about morality, what is considered, right or acceptable. Was it right that Talbot go into the clergy? Was it acceptable for Leo to work, considering he was still a child? Was it acceptable to let Sarah Bernhardt perform her play? Was it okay for Brother Casgrain to write plays? For all these, the characters had to go through internal turmoil and hardship, while they searched for their meaning of the good life, to finally achieve what they were destined, or not destined for. Given the setting, one had to understand the customs at the time, to understand the play. Before coming into the play, I had known that the clergy was a dominant force, that the poor usually worked in blue collar jobs, and child labor was prominent, and women were still not seen as equals at the time. Having only read about the hardships of the poor, the play made the experience that much real, the suffering of the mother and Leo was seen on their faces as they slaved away day and night, and the idea of the stolen silver just became that much real in showing the power of the clergy and the fear everyone had of it. Talbot's emotional struggle, with him questioning his clergy ship and going against many of the things that the clergy stand by, for his mother and brother is something that I relate to. I am similarly always questioning whether I took the right path in my education, or whether I just did it for family and society.

Gangidi, Suma. "Suma outside the Theatre." 2017. JPG

The Emotional Experience: The catastrophe at the end, and the anagnorisis which Talbot goes through all kind of work to create this kind of "greek drama" story cycle. So similarly, through katharsis, I felt the death of Leo to be intolerable. This innocent death really brought to light the struggles we go through to provide for ourselves and our families, and failure we may face, in Leo's case, death. His attempts to help his brother ultimately failed him, as it led to his death. This calls us to call injustice on such an innocent and uncalled for death. The kind of traumatic way in which the entire story ended just angered me, and made me mad, as it made it feel as though there is no justice in the world, and that proved that not everyone is able to find the good life in the path which they have hoped for.

Credits:

Created with images by cr03 - "Theatre"

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