Theater Experience Nicole Polisar

The view of my first impression of this theater.

Spatial Experience: When I first entered the theater, I came in through the side door so I first saw the beautiful, colorful sculptors that were lined up and down the row of windows leading upstairs to the ticket booth. I was really shocked to find that art work there and they truly enhanced the overall beauty of the outside of the theater. The auditorium was smaller than I expected, which created a more intimate atmosphere. We were seated in the back, however due to the small size of the theater we had no problem seeing everything on stage. In fact, we were able to see the slightest detail which allowed us to recognize the amount of hard work that went into creating the realistic set and costumes of that time period. The dimming of the lights and how pitch black the theater became created a feeling of excitement. The actors first ran from the back of the auditorium, through the audience to the stage and this made me feel like we were a part of the performance. The live performance aspect of seeing a play is so different from any other form of entertainment because the audience is able to see how the set comes together from scene to scene and hear other auditory senses we would otherwise miss, such as when Sarah Bernhardt was wearing a dress completely made out of jewels; the audience could actually hear the sound of the jewels dragging across the floor. Additionally, if the play was not live, the audience would never have had the chance for the talk back where we were allowed to ask the actors and actresses questions. The role of place in the good life impacts the mood a person has because the atmosphere a person surrounds them self in can shape the perspective the person has of the experience.

Before seeing the play.

Social Experience: I attended the play with my sister. Before seeing the performance, we went out together and got lunch at a nearby restaurant and we then walked over to the theater together, creating a nice bonding experience between us. I enjoyed seeing the play with my sister, because we grew up together, thus sharing similar experiences that made us find the play humorous or sad at certain times. Furthermore, this enhanced my understanding of the performance because I had someone I could discuss the play with who had the same background as myself and used those past experience to come up with a completely different standpoint from myself about the play. We were also able to talk about the play to our family and share the story with them. Shared experiences heighten the good life because they allow you to make deeper connections with other people and enable you to form bonds that can aid you throughout life.

Artwork hung in the lobby of the theater.

Cultural and Intellectual Experience: This play took place in 1905 and the main subject matter was about social and economic class, a prominent discussion still highly argued in modern day. The fact that a subject matter that we talk about so much today was even discussed over one hundred years ago shows me that history is recurring and that this is a topic that is extremely hard or near impossible to resolve. Before attending the performance and through my own experience, I am aware that people who come from different economic classes are sometimes unable to connect with a person in a different class simply because they cannot understand their struggles and problems that they go through in everyday life. In the play, Michaud never experienced a day of poverty in his life and he had all these absurd ideas of how the poor live. For example, while having tea in shoe factory, he spits into his glass because he thought this was how poor people clean their cutlery. He looked very ignorant to those of the lower class while he was dumbfounded that the ideas he thought to be true were wrong. As a result, these characters had a more difficult time connecting with each other. This play showed the dangerous sides of economic inequality because those who are poorer and need their children to work to help pay for food and they end up putting their children in unsafe environments. For instance, the factory Mrs. Talbot worked in was not run properly and two little girls died from having their head caught on the machinery and Mrs. Talbot's own son died from neglect while in the factory. This play taught me the seriousness of social and economic inequality.

After seeing the play.

Emotional Experience: The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt provides us an opportunity for katharsis because we are able to connect to the issues brought up in the play, resulting in us being able to reflect upon ourselves. We can use our reflection of our own being to see if we really are doing our part to help resolve the issues brought up. In the play, there were many judgments and stereotypes being made about the poor, such as the poor being uneducated or dirty. For example, when visiting in the factory, Michaud made a comment along the lines that he thought the poor were dirty because they were poor but he came to the conclusion that the poor were thought of that way because of the work they do. In modern day, people still make these harsh, untrue judgments. When people use this play to realize they are not truly doing all they can to help others, they are able to come clean and contemplate what it means to be human. As a result, people start katharsis.

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Nicole Polisar
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