Good Life Performance The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt Nilan Bhakta

Spatial Experience: I had no idea the the Reitz Union had such a beautiful auditorium and theater area. From the outside there wasn't much that stood out to the eye, but as soon as you walk in the dimmer lighting made me feel like I had entered a completely different place. My seat was in the front row, dead center and I was excited because I had never been so close to the actors. Throughout the play I actually felt like I was in the play and actually with the actors probably because of my close proximity. When the lights went dim in the beginning of the play, the entire room went silent and only a few sniffles could be heard. At that moment, everything else about my day and everyone else's day vanished from all of our minds and we were all absorbed by the play. A place like Constans theatre can serve as an escape and help people forget all their worries for a moment in time.

Social Experience: I had originally scheduled to go to the play with a group of friends, however, I realized that I had a conflicting event and had to reschedule for a weekday. I went to the play alone which I was honestly a little intimidated by, however, I believe that this was actually a blessing in disguise. I was not distracted by any of my friends comments or such during the play. During intermission I talked to a few of the friendly strangers that were sitting next to me about what had happened during the first part. There were so many plot twists and such that we were trying to sort out exactly what happened and why. I believe that communicating with people allows everyone to gain a better understanding of things that are going on and can help shape one's own views and beliefs.

The Cultural and Intellectual Experience: Although the play was set well in the past, there were still many parallels with todays society. For example, in the play the mother gives the son little option on what he wants to do with his future. He is essentially pushed against his will to become a priest. Although my parents have allowed to me choose my own career path with their full support, my parents did not have the same luxury when growing up. Their parents put them through education in America and essentially guided them to a profession. I feel grateful for the opportunity that I am given and understand that even today not everyone is as fortunate as me. In addition, the play brought up another issue of poverty and working conditions. The rich boss of the factory believes acts like he owns the workers because he is paying them and he is much wealthier than his workers. In addition the lives seemed to be viewed as expendable in the play, and this was further supported by the lack of safety precautions made after the first deaths in the factory. Although this isn't as much of an issue in present day America, in developing countries like Pakistan and Bangladesh child labor and the lack of safe work conditions there are huge ethical and moral debates still going on.

The Emotional Experience: The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt raises awareness for many issues including child labor, lack of safety conditions, and poverty. In a sense all of these are linked together. In the play, Sarah Bernhardt's plays are typically only viewed by the extremely rich and wealthy who can afford tickets, however her plays usually never seemed to have a message. Theatre is a place in which social change can be made, and Sarah Bernhardt decides to try and perform a play about poverty. Although I was confused about the ending of the actual play itself, I do understand that by performing about an issue such as poverty will help raise awareness. In addition, by having a play that deals with real life issues, people will feel better about themselves through katharsis. No longer does the audience feel that they are hiding a serious issue from becoming a major topic in society, and for some people the fact that the play addressed a certain issue may be enough for them to make them feel better morally.

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