An Unprecedented Journey Experience of watching "the divine: a play for sarah bernhardt"

Introduction & Foreshadow

The play, The Divine, is actually one of the few plays I have watched till now. More significantly, it is the first play that I watched in a foreign language and in a exotic cultural community. When the Saturday azure doom turned into the dark curtain, I was a little bit tumultuary but also desired to the staging-on of the performance.

Spatial Experience

Entering in the theatre, I, with a couple of my friends, located our seats at the right side facing the already-set-up stage. Compared to the last theatre Where I watched my last performance, Constans Theatre is relatively smaller as well as more integrated, leading the audience into the following play connectively. After the lights dimmed, a divine feeling of silence arrived at the auditorium. To me, this kind of silence illustrated the respect to the actors by the viewers. Also, the silence forced me to focus on the performance. Both the size of the auditorium and the auditorium itself provided me with a physical room and a mental space to explore the play--The Divine. The place will be an essential part of The Good Life for that the auditorium created a sacred circumstance: like a dark universe with stars shining forward.

Found on "" 4th Feb, 2017

Social Experience

I attended the play with four close friends. One of them, Jinghong, and I just finished our supper before the performance. We met up with another of them, Zhaowen, at the gate and the other two, Feiyi and Zhuoyu, after entering the auditorium. Zhuoyu was quite on time heading for the play, sat down with the journalists in the play ready to strive across the stage front. We discussed the snow scene on the stage for a while before the performance, waiting for the first occasion of the play on the Quebec street. During the 10-minute intermission, we chatted and joked about the play which helped all of us to understand the performance better and lively. I, when we were chatting, experienced enjoyment beyond the performance itself. It is the product of sharing and cooperating, both which have their non-separative roles in The Good Life.

The background photo is a group photo of three of them. On my left is Jinghong Liu, on my right is Zhuoyu Yuan and Feiyi Wang on the right side of the picture.

The Cultural and Intellectual Experience

Furthermore, for the show itself, it took place in December 1905 in Quebec City. During this time in this capitalized city, people were always suppressed physically and spiritually. As Michaud expressed his passion in playwriting and performing, the scene successfully foreshadowed the rhythm of the story. Since I come from a different cultural community--China, I had read and studied a lot about oppressions in the old time. I can tell many Chinese nobles(e.g., Luxun/Shuren Zhou, Song Yan) who had similar experiences like Michaud who was deprived mentally off his innocent foresights.

When the play continued, the story was illustrated more thoroughly from the perspective of each characters. The rebellion of all the suppressed characters--Leo, Michaud and Sarah Bernhardt--figured out the real life in an industrializing city in the early 20th century. At the climax of the play, the Boss's claims on the efficiency against the morality in the factory showed the common society concordance: physical assets are far more important than anything else. People were and have been suppressed in individual expression. Bernhardt, the Divine, behaved to awake people to stand and resist those social circumstances. In the Talk Back, Christie Robinson, actress of Sarah Bernhardt, mentioned a lot about her research on The Divine to help her achieve the manners and tones that Bernhardt should have. Her words demonstrated that her character is complex and different from common characters. Sarah would be more spiritual than ordinary people, directing her to be differed in her times.

Sarah's story provided me a great new view on the subject matter and refreshed my understanding on my newly entered culture. In my real life, I have experienced the oppression of reality. As a person of fantasy, I am always pursuing the expression of my whims through all medias from music to writing. Bernhardt's story gave me a classic refurbishment on the way of pursuit.

Found on "" 4th Feb, 2017

Emotional Experience

Katharsis, a Greek word for process of “coming clean”, is well defined in the play. With Christie's finely controlled tones and voices, I can feel Sarah Bernhardt's pursuit of artistry in her time. Before the play, I am more like a college student worrying the fulfilling dues and assignments. I, however, gradually became relaxed or charmed by the attractive performance. In other words, I sunk into the play. When Talbot and Michaud kneeled and confessed, I was quite shocked and moved. The plot directed me to deliberate the relationship of the story with my life. Am I wrong somehow? Why can't I reach the realm of whims expression I desired? Those questions went through my mind and bring me to clear over the shadow in my mind. I am just like the deprived workers in the factory, lacking the persistence of rebellion against the reality. I should be like Sarah more. I should not fear the undesired outcomes. I should keep on my own pursuit of my wishes. The difficulties and adversities in the play, and Bernhardt's leading rebellions point out the way of thinking. We need to explore the show beyond the historical and dramatical values. We can find a lot of parallels between the play and our life.

Found on "" 4th Feb, 2017

Thank You!

Found on "" 4th Feb, 2017

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