The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt Lauren Blakeley

The Spatial Experience

We arrived at the theater fairly late, so our seats were towards the back, this caused me a small amount of trouble because I had a hard time seeing. We were fortunate enough to have seats in the center of our aisle and because of that I could see the action from areas of the theater very well. I enjoyed that the actors made use of the theater so that the audience became more involved. It took me until about half-way through the play to realize that the actors were not in the aisles, but were rather on an extension of the stage. Although this should have no effect on how I viewed the play, once I realized this it felt less interactive. My least favorite part of the theater was how it was run; instead of announcing the play or dimming the lights entirely they just jumped into the action which made me disoriented as an audience member; I forgave this because later I realized that the play was supposed to speak directly to the audience. At the end the play transformed from something the audience observed to something we participated in and the way the theater was set up forced the audience to engage. Overall, I enjoyed being in the theater a lot and the atmosphere added to the play.

The Social Experience

This is a photo which I took of myself and Hali* after the play was finished. *Hali has given me permission to use her photo in this post.

I went to watch this play with my friend Hali, and in high school we both participated in theater. Because of our background the play was much easier to follow for us than it was for some of our other friends. I enjoyed watching the play with Hali because as the action was happening we were able to communicate with glances and occasional whispers about the action on stage. During intermission it was fun to speak with her discuss our theories as to why Joseph was being offered so many things from the church. I think that my experience would have been less enjoyable if I had not gone with Hali, because I would not have been willing to discuss the play with strangers; going with a friend and being able to discuss with her helped me to be understand the play.

The Cultural and Intellectual Experience

I believe that what makes a play good is its ability to stay relevant, and the The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt accomplished that. Although the time period is much different from now, the central message remains the same. We have to be aware of where and how our products are being made because to create quality products, at a low cost must leave someone in trouble. While I hope today that the person shorted is not children, it likely is; it is our duty to make sure that we are buy products made in factories where the laborers are treated fairly. This is not the only message; the play also touched on the censorship of the arts. This is a topic very dear to my heart because so many schools across our nation are either censoring the content of plays or banning them from being performed entirely. In my opinion this is not fair, because the purpose of art is to draw attention to matters that are controversial and to make the audience think. When plays and other forms of art are censored it makes it hard for playwrights and artists to bring attention to matters which are relevant.

The Emotional Experience

This is a photo that was taken by Hali before the play began.

While this play saddened me, it also made me extremely angry. I grew up Catholic and from the moment I discovered the church wanted Joseph to stay quiet about something, I knew the outcome would be that he was molested by a priest. This is the most often way that the Catholic Church is referenced in pop culture. After getting over how angry I was, I became more relaxed because I saw some of the problems which the world faces, but I was also presented with possible solutions. I realized that it's okay that the world has flaws as long as we can all work towards making the problems smaller for the people who face them.

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