A Spark Story for Sarah Bernhardt By Austin Gordon

The Spatial Experience

Viewing the show in the theatre, rather than on video, undoubtedly enhanced my overall experience. Sitting close to the front of the stage gave me an excellent vantage point in which I could see the entirety of the action taking place clearly. When I first walked into the theatre, I noticed how the acoustics of the building affected how the sound carried and dramatized each word, in a way. I initially went in skeptical of the point of attending, but once the lights dimmed and the acting began, I knew the play would be impactful in some capacity. The role of location definitely plays a role in the Good Life. It gives you a realistic sense and perception of what you are visiting, and helps engage you fully.

The theatre, courtesy of Google Images

The Social Experience

Experiencing the play with a couple of my friends completely altered the way I viewed some of the themes and scenes in the show. There existed almost a shared emotion between all of us, sometimes showcased by a collective interjection when something exciting happened in the play (like the death scene, for example). The engaging discussion that followed the end of the play left us with a greater understanding because of our different, unique interpretations of the scenes. Shared experiences bolster your personal relationships, allowing you to grow with your friends collectively. By going to things like plays and museums with a group of friends, you are able to enlighten yourself on the different ways the Good Life can be interpreted, which ultimately brings you ever so closer to achieving it personally!

The Cultural and Intellectual Experience

What I found most interesting about the performance is how it got "meta" at certain parts. Sarah, in particular, discussed how the theatre can be used as a tool to talk about the uncomfortable social issues that plague our society, all while the play tackles exactly what she was talking about as it develops into a story of sexual abuse within the Catholic church. I knew of the events that occurred based off the knowledge gathered from history classes throughout the years, but I could never have understood or empathized with an individual case, which is exactly what this play allows its audience to do. This play reaffirmed how the world is filled with such violent, corrupted people and institutions, which only made me feel immense sorrow for Michaud, as he slowly lost his innocence as the show progressed. The loss of innocence, albeit extremely depressing, is something that every child must do in their transition to adulthood, which is what spoke to me so personally throughout the play.

The Emotional Experience

As I mentioned earlier, the show tackles the socially uncomfortable topic of the sexual abuse of children. I would say I only experienced katharsis once I discovered that the letter containing the confession was indeed handed over to the police, so that justice could be served. Personally, because of my value of fairness and justice, that moment of the show struck me the hardest. I felt an immense wave of relief when it was revealed that this case didn't go undocumented.

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