The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt Kasia Leavitt

The Spatial Experience

When I got to the Constans Theater, I could feel excitement and energy from the people around me going to the play- I think it was a mix of the oncoming storm and the impending performance. Once we sat down, the atmosphere was more quiet, unsure- more relaxed since we were sitting in the dim lights, especially since I was sitting further towards the back. I was excited to see what the play was about, because despite having read about the play, I was still confused by it. The auditorium itself was not too large, so it made the theater feel more comfortable, as if you were in the sitting in the factory with the actors. The placement of the play was important, because the Constans theater made the play feel more intimate, and the placement of the actors when they walked through the audience made for more personal performance. Not only could you see the actors faces more clearly, but you could see all the details that went into the making of the costumes and set.

The Social Experience

I went to the play with 3 friends, and they added new perspectives to the experience of the performance. Whenever anything big happened, I had someone I could turn to and react with. While most of the people in the audience with me were strangers, I did not really interact with them, nor did they particularly add or take away away from the performance. In order to get ready for the performance, I read the brief description on the play, but it did not clue me into the play too much- which is a good thing, as I was not wasting time seeing something I already knew everything about. Also, all of the surprises in the play were not ruined for me. In terms of the good life, shared experiences allow people to make connections and get closer through common events. These events make for good memories, and they are opportunities for thoughtful discourse on a new subject matter- such as the play and the questions it brought up.

The cultural and intellectual experience

I did not grow up in a particularly religious family, but this play led me to consider what it would be like to live in world where religion ruled. The play made me look at my country in a new light, with a newfound appreciation for the acceptance that most people have towards others choosing what religions they follow. Also, I realized how we take laws such as child labor laws and laws that make everyone equal for granted. I can't imagine having to work in the conditions that the factory women worked in. One of the central issues is Talbot's struggling with the truth, and we learn that eventually the truth will be set free, and it is best not to fight it, as in the case of Brother Casgrain. While I cannot personally understand what the characters went through, I can see that when the truth finally comes out, while there may be large losses immediately, the truth will cause change in the long run.

The emotional experience

The play allowed for the audience to see and come to terms with all of the evil things people had done it the past and recognize our wrongs. The play is a perfect example of catharsis, because not only does the audience experience a relief through the plays truths, but characters such as Michaud also experience this. The audience has no choice but to see the ugly truth of the past throughout the play- from child labor and church officials taking advantage of young men- but the play also allows for the audience to realize that we have made much progress from these times. Michaud also feels catharsis after having fought a battle within himself as to tell Talbot's secret or not. Eventually he comes clean, and this feeling of coming clan was immediately shown through the actors immediately relaxed posture. The play may have been culturally radical or socially unacceptable during its time, however, it was made that way so that people don't forget the truths of the past, and so that they recognize the progress made, and so we do not forget or repeat the horrible things from our past.

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