Performance of "The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt" Uncovering hidden injustices

The Spatial experience

The theater was pretty small compared to other theaters I've been in. I was close to the back, and without my glasses it was difficult for me to see the set and actors, so I had to rely on their voices and large body movements to understand the emotions of the scene. When the lights dimmed, I was excited for the play to start, especially when the first actors came out on stage. I was curious, knowing nothing about the story and little about the setting and history, and hoped the play would be interesting. The set was well-designed and I was awed by the ingenuity of flipping the beds to become workbenches during the scene change. Because the theatre was relatively small, I felt more immersed into the play and less distracted by my surroundings. In the good life, our settings can affect our emotions, experiences, and thoughts. Wide open spaces can give a sense of freedom and exploration, but can detract from a performance by making the stage and actors feel distant. A smaller theatre more effectively pulled me into the emotion of the play and gave me a greater appreciation for its message.

The social experience

I attended the performance alone so my interactions were only with strangers. As evidenced here I put little effort into my appearance, since it was more like me seeing a show than seeing other people. I had limited interactions with others, but did get to talk to another young woman when we took pictures for each other. Attending the play alone detracted from my experience somewhat because I wasn't able to talk about it with other people, which is something I often do after watching movies or show with others. In the good life, sharing experiences is valuable in numerous ways. Talking about the experience reveals each individuals' perspectives, opening you to new ideas that you may not have thought about. It's also more comfortable to enter a new place with people you know, so you may feel bolder - such as feeling bold enough to ask a question at the end of the play, or to try something new that you haven't done before. You're also more likely to take pictures and form memories when you attend an event with other people. Sharing an experience generally enhances it.

The cultural and intellectual experience

The central issue of the play was hidden injustices, and how they impacted the individuals victimized by these injustices. For example, the factory workers dealt with brutal, dangerous working conditions that led to two young girls being killed by a machine in a gruesome manner. The factory owner covered up the murders so that the poor working conditions wouldn't be exposed, allowing them to perpetuate. During the time that this play took place, such brutal working conditions, as well as corruption in organized religion, were widespread and were covered up by the elites in power - rich factory owners and religious leaders. The struggle of the characters, especially Michaud, who wishes to expose these injustices through theatre, mainly centered or their attempt to deal with the injustices they or their loved ones faced. Before seeing this play, I knew about the subject matter from my history classes which discussed the hardships of the working class in the nineteenth and twenty-first century. I had more limited knowledge of corruption in the Church, however, I was aware of some instances of religious leaders taking advantage of young churchgoers under their care. After seeing the play, I realized how extreme these injustices were and the lengths that people went through to keep them from being exposed - not only elites, but also the victims themselves, sometimes out of fear or for other reasons such as a desire to protect their families. This subject matter connects to many of the hidden injustices occurring in the world today. There are parallels to how impoverished workers in third-world countries are exploited for gain by their employers, for example.

The emotional experience

"The Divine: A Play for Sarah Berndhardt" provides an opportunity for "katharsis" - to come clean - by portraying the aforementioned hidden injustices and fully exposing them without censorship. The play uncovers the extent of how horrible working conditions are for the impoverished who work in factories when the main character's brother dies. This scene is emotional and powerful, and doesn't try to cover up the brutal way he died or the anguish that his family felt. In addition to this, the play addresses the topic of sexual violation by those in power in a way that doesn't minimize the issue. It shows the different ways people react to being victimized, and reveals, perhaps most importantly, that justice can be painful and unwanted, even for the victims. This play allows us to 'come clean' about how society overlooks and covers up these abuses of power rather than trying to help those who are suffering. This applies not only to the time period of the play but also to the abuses of power that occur today. "The Divine" opens our eyes to injustice and forces the audience to take in consideration their own willful ignorance of these injustices. It's a way for society and individuals to come clean about overlooking such important issues.

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