Good life Performance The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt

The Spatial Experience

The physical setting and appearance of the theater had a lot to do with my experience at the play. To start, when I walked up to the Constans Theater, the entire front entryway was large and striking and was directly followed by a spacious foyer, which created a sense of excitement and wonder before the play even began. Then once I was in the theater, I was confronted with a simple set. The set contained several beds in front of an elaborate stained glass window. This set would later be transformed into the setting for a clothing factory. (photo credit to UF School of Theater and Dance)
My individual seat location also had a lot to do with my perception of the performance. I have included an arrow with the picture to indicate where I sat during the performance. Because of my proximity to the left side of the stage, I was able to experience several parts of the show up close and personally. For example, when the lights dimmed, the show began with several of the cast members entering from the side and saying several of their beginning lines only a couple feet from where I was sitting. This gave me the feeling of actually being transported into the play itself. The size of the auditorium did not contribute very much to my experience at the show because I was able to experience it so close to the stage that I was not at all concentrated on the large number of people sitting behind me. Location plays a large role in the good life, being that someone who watched the play from the back of the theater probably did not experience it the same way that I did. Location changes your perspective, so whether it be where you live, where you spend your free time, or where you watch a play, location definitely does contribute to and change how you are enjoying your life. (photo credit to Foresight Construction Group)

The Social Experience

I attended the performance with my friend Sierra. Before the performance, we both read the description of the play. We also chose to plan an entire night around the play and ate a nice dinner at Olive Garden before seeing the show. Attending the show with a friend made the experience more enjoyable because we both had something in common to talk about after seeing the play. Shared experiences are very important in the good life because they make each person feel as though they belong to a certain group. When people in each circle of your life have something in common with you, it makes their presence more enjoyable and therefore contributes to the good life.

The Cultural and Intellectual Experience

After seeing the performance, the play taught me to not assume I know the whole story of a person from the surface level. The setting and time period of the play had a lot to do with the issues presented in the plot. For example, since the play was set in Quebec City in the Early 20th century, the people during that time and place were largely influenced by the Catholic Church. This brought up issues of the church's opposition to popular culture, such as the work of Sarah Bernhardt, and banned it from the area. This was the main issue addressed in the play, along with other issues such as the dismissal of crimes committed by the church and harsh labor conditions. Before attending the performance, I was not completely aware of the extent of the dark subject matter included in the play. I only came in with general knowledge of the setting and characters. The performance changed my views about how difficult the lives some people can be without anyone ever knowing it. While the subject matter does not relate directly to issues in my life, it has taught me to be more empathetic towards others, as while it may not seem like it, they may be going through major hardships. (photo credit to cultural weekly)

The Emotional Experience

This play provides the audience with an opportunity for catharsis because if the audience sees the characters' secrets coming out, then the audience may be more likely to be more open and honest about the injustice in the world. With all of the social injustice happening in the play, hopefully it has encouraged the audience to speak out about issues in their own lives, now seeing just how much damage these injustices have caused to the lives of the characters and their families. Seeing the many low points of humanity in this play, the audience has an opportunity to put those things and other issues in their individual lives behind them and to focus on the positive things that contribute to their version of the good life. (photo credit to Stage Door)

Picture Sources: http://www.stage-door.com/Theatre/2015/Entries/2015/8/7_The_Divine__A_Play_for_Sarah_Bernhardt.html

http://www.culturalweekly.com/shaw-fest-examines-womens-struggles/

http://foresightcgi.com/project/university-of-t2-replacement/

http://nyff.net/mint/sotd/html/1whoweare/mcguire/constans.htm

http://arts.ufl.edu/in-the-loop/events/the-divine-a-play-for-sarah-bernhardt/

Created By
Grace Stigers
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