The Good Life Viewing of The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt Kayla Buch

The Spatial Experience

How did the physical setting of the theater affect the performance?

The physical aspects of the theater provided an interesting dynamic to the experience. The outside of the theater had a clean, simple design. The the outside of the theater, in my opinion, gave the perception that the inside of the theater was going to be much smaller than it actually was. The spacious theater that was hiding inside the two sets of double entry doors was an excellent surprise. My friend and I were seat in the middle of an aisle in the front middle section of the theater. Having great seats made the experience enjoyable, but I would not have been too upset if our seats were not perfect. The role of place is an interesting topic that can be thought about it many different ways. When I think of the role of place in relation to the Good Life, I do not usually think about it in terms of physical place, but where you are and what you're doing is very important to one's good life. I also believe where you are in a given location and what your purpose is in that location is very important. My friend and I were very fortunate to receive perfect seats in a wonderful play that we didn't not have to pay for, and that probably did affect our happiness without us realizing it at the time. However, I do not think either of us would have been too upset if placement in the theater was not ideal.

The Social Experience

How was the experience changed basic on visiting the theater with friends?

In my opinion, social interaction has a significant effect on any experience. This performance date and time happened to be one that many of my friends chose. However, we all arrived at the theater at different times, resulting in us choosing different seats and being scattered all throughout the theater. Having so many friends in the same performance made things fun because we are sharing an experience that we can discuss and reflect on when we together later on. I arrived at the theater with my good friend Miles, whom I spend lots of time with. Although we are completely different individuals, Miles and I have a lot in common and share many viewpoints. Going to see this production with a close friend like Miles was a fantastic idea because we were open and comfortable with each other and each other's opinions. We are not afraid to share how an experience made each of us feel or what we thought of a particular event. Going with a friend established a comfort level in the theater that I would not have had if he had not attended the production with me. However, I do not believe that the experience would have been negative without friends around me. It would only change the dynamic of comfort and make it an new experience that I would have to tackle and make understanding of on my own.

The Cultural and Intellectual Experience

How does the performance help you develop a new way of seeing and understanding our own culture?

The production The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt was centered around a variety of ethical concerns. From poverty, to religion, to rape, and to industry, we are presented with examples of issues that regularly took place in the time of The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt. Before attending the performance, I had general knowledge of these topics from information that I have learned in history classes in high school. I would say that this performance changed my viewpoint on some of these issues. To start, it is one thing to read about these issue in history textbooks, its another to attach those happening to people, and to make those terrible events more personal and relatable. I also think that attaching these events to relatable people helps the viewer relate these happenings to issues and concerns in his or her own life. Even if some of the issues depicted in the play are not exactly the same as they are today, we still have issues relating to religion, rape, poverty, industry, and social status today. We can look at how these issues evolved over time and we can also analyze how they have and have not improved. I also believe that these issues effect everyone in some way. Most people's lives are affected by the waves of society, making these issues relatable to everyone.

The Emotional Experience

The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt provide us an opportunity for katharsis?

Katharsis is the greek word for the process of "coming clean". The play The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt, discusses a range of topics that are socially uncomfortable, politically contentious, religiously irreverent, and culturally radical. These topics challenge the way we think, provide time for self reflection, and bring forth issues that society would typically prefer to bury. I do believe that the play provides an excuse for katharsis. We can reflect on the scandals that we view in the play as scandals that also deal with in everyday life. Considering the time period, we can view the events of the play as scandals of the past, but we can also ask ourselves about the things tat are plaguing society in the present. Through reflection after viewing this performance, we can ask ourselves to come clean about what we prefer to bury, whether it is as a culture, as a nation, or as people as a whole.

Works Cited

The picture on the introduction page was a picture taken of the cover art of the original book The Divine: A play for Sarah Bernhardt. The source is cited respectively below. All other pictures were taken by me.

Bouchard, Michel Marc, and Linda Gaboriau. The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt. Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada: Talon, 2015. Print.

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