Good Life Performance The DIvine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt

The Spatial Experience

I entered through the front steps of the Reitz, passing the alligator peacefully floating in the pond; I felt proud to be a gator. Entering the Reitz Union always gives me a senses a shock, the crisp cold AC hit me in the face, I was welcomed by the sparkling floors and mellowed murmurs all around from my fellow goodlife classmates. As soon as we were directed through the front doors everyone's voices fell softer, we all filed in together. My friend chose our seats, towards the front and right in the middle. The theatre was small, making it warm and welcoming, it made me remember my first play that I attended as a kid, bringing back fond memories. I read through the entire play bill, making myself familiar with the background information on the characters and the plot. I could feel the anticipation in the air prior to the lights dimming. I have attended many plays in my lifetime, most of which were broadway musicals. From my experience, the energy of huge broadway productions gives me a rush of excitement and much anticipations, all due to the size of the theatre and the high-class atmosphere. The experience I had at The Divine was much more relaxed and than any other theatre production I have been too, much to the affect of the small welcoming environment in which it was held. When seeking the "good life" it is important to stay aware of the physical places we put ourselves, and how they affect our persona. I would much rather be in the the setting I was when I saw The Divine because it was a small production and made me feel safer than a huge glamorous musical or play would.

The Social Experience

I attended the play with one of my life-long friends from home, who is also a freshman. Before heading to the Reitz we went to a local Mexican restaurant for dinner and definitely ate way more then we should have, but it was satisfying. The night entire night was part of the experience, rather than just the play itself, and if I would have gone by myself I probably would not have enjoyed the production as much. Surrounding yourself with people you know, even if it is just one person, creates a friendly environment and causes us to create meaningful connections while genuinely enjoying each others company.

The Cultural and Intellectual Experience

Before the play bill was placed in my hands I was completely unaware of the story I was about to experience. After reading the play bill I was able to rack some background knowledge into my brain. In the prologue it was explained that a boy from a low income family was being transferred to a different school that was very high-class, this was after the young man physically harmed one of the priests at his prior school. A little bit into the play I realized that there was more to the story than what was being told by the priests. Then the truth was unfolded, turning out that the real reason for switching schools being that he was sexually assaulted by a priest, and in order to keep his family quiet about it the school offered them a deal too good to pass up, free education for a poor child. While digesting the play I saw the major gap in classes and how easy it is for the higher class to manipulate the lower class by offering them opportunities and money. It made me realize that this unfairness actually occurs on a daily basis, but we don't fully see whats happening unless we are experiencing it for ourselves. One part of the play that really left an impression on me was when Michaud proposed the idea of making a play about the poverty-stricken and the head clergyman tells him that his idea is ridiculous because he could, "never understand poverty unless he has gone through it." That statement is true fro all things, no one can ever understand what someone has been through, unless they have experienced the same exact thing, in the same exact way, which is virtually impossible. This part of the play I felt related most to my life. People in my discussion section may have noticed that I don't speak out much, but none are aware as to why, and most likely don't understand. As there is definitely one, or more characteristics about everyone in that class that no one is aware of, but we have to respect that.

The Emotional Experience

This play was definitely based on a socially uncomfortable subject, because there were parts that I felt uneasy listening to. I believe that it is important for everyone to be introduced to the topics and made conformable enough to discuss them. If this were the case, there would be less mental health issues in society today because the subjects would be oppressed and frowned upon to bring up. This play showed that it is acceptable and encouraged to be open about social awkward subjects, in fact it allows us to let feelings off of our chest and create fresh starts. Katharsis, or coming clean, is an important factor in one's life if they are trying to achieve the "good life" because its creates an honest and pure person.
Created By
Brooke Taylor

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