An Evening of Theatre By Heather Sundar

The Spatial Experience

When I entered the theatre, the lobby was filled with soon-to-be audience members milling about, chatting and taking photographs. After being escorted to our seats, the lights in the house remained on for about fifteen minutes. When the lights dimmed, the audience went quiet and there was a sense of curiosity and excitement in the room. The theater wasn't very large and that created more of a sense of intimacy between the story and the viewers. Within the theater, my seat was only three rows behind the stage. This made it very easy to immerse myself in the story rather than be distracted by other audience members in front of me. In a Good Life, location matters quite a bit because if the environment cultivates the things that one values, then one is more likely to have a Good Life.

The Social Experience

To prepare for the performance, I researched the backstory of the play to get a better idea of what I'd be watching. Initially I attended the performance alone, but in the crowd, I found some friends of mine and we watched the show together. Having friends there made the experience better because during the intermission we were able to talk about what we each thought of the show so far and what we thought would happen in the second half. In The Good Life, shared experiences help validate ones thoughts or challenge them. Shared experiences build relationships and enhance the Good Life.

The Cultural and Intellectual experience

In the play, the central issue was the injustice that occurs in the church and in factories. Before the performance I knew of the harsh working conditions in industrial factories through the book "The Jungle" by Upton Sinclair. Regarding the injustice in the Catholic church, I recall news coverage of previous Popes sexually assaulting children. The portrayal of these issues didn't change my views on them but made me more aware of my role in their occurrence. Maybe not so much for the injustice of the church, but definitely in the aspect regarding working conditions. In the play when the factory owner claimed that buyers didn't care where their products came from or how they were made, as long as they get them for a good price, made me realize that I should pay more attention to the origins of products i consume. If we can reduce the consumption of goods made in poor working conditions, these working conditions are less likely to occur.

The Emotional Experience

"The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt" allows us for an opportunity for catharsis because it addresses difficult problems that people may not be comfortable talking about. The play also focused on Michaud's story of how he wanted to express the injustices of his city through theatre. I think this serves as inspiration for the audience of the play to encourage them to find a way to convey issues they find important. During the "talk back", the actress who played Sarah Bernhardt said that art at its core is communication and that people can use it as a medium to ignite change.

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