On Tuesday January 24th, I went to the Constans Theatre to watch The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt.
Picture : http://www.performingarts.vt.edu/events/view/divine
I entered the auditorium after a long cold walk from my dorm, I went into the play somewhat impartial, I don't think I would have came had it not been an assignment. I sat on the left side of the auditorium about 7 rows up, next to my friend Manny. I was a lot closer to the stage than I thought I would've been, I had a great view. That made my viewing experience a lot more enjoyable, especially when Sarah Bernhardt was performing right in front of us. When the lights dimmed I knew the play was about to start and it got me more in the mood to watch a play. The auditorium was somewhat small so all of the seats were close and there wasn't a bad echo, I could hear the play very well. The role of place is essential to the good life in that it creates an atmosphere and sets the mood for what is to come in the play.
I attended the play with my friend Manny, we walked from our dorm Infinity Hall. I think going with a friend improved my mood and made it more fun to go to. Also being able to discuss the play and hear someone else's perspective on the play during intermission was helpful. Manny had some good insight on what he thought the play meant to him. Sharing experiences with a friend makes those experiences more special. To have someone also be able to look back at an experience with is nice, because you can't really say "Remember when..." to yourself.
The Cultural and Intellectual Experience:
To me the main central issue was the exploitation of children, both in the factories and in the seminaries. I knew a little about how many children worked in the dangerous factories in America in the early 1900s from my AP US History class. It made me really feel bad for children in that time, the Talbot boys were represented in both paths a poor child could take during this time period. One could either join a seminary and get abused by a priest in power and also be forbidden to do some things; like have a girlfriend. Or, like Leo be subject to working in the harsh factory conditions and risk death. The subject matter does not have relation to anything I've experienced but sadly, I've known a lot of friends who have been forced to do things they necessarily didn't want to do, like get a job instead of play basketball because they had to help support their family.
The Emotional Experience:
Walking into the theatre I was impartial, but I didn't think I would enjoy this play. However, I did, it gave me a lot to think about. I was able to empathize with the young characters and I thought to myself what I would do if I was in that position. When Talbot had to choose to give the letter to the police or tear it up, I was torn. It was a tough decision, that gets you questioning your beliefs. To let out the truth or face a punishment for something not true, and thats what Talbot had to decide. You always want for a play to have a happy ending, but there's always something about a play that can make you feel other emotions. For me, the stories that are sad are cathartic because it allows me to feel that emotion without it directly affecting me. So, thats why the Divine provided us with a cathartic experience, because it gave us an opportunity to feel sadness for the individuals in the play.