Good Life Performance: The Divine By: Brittany Hillman

Waiting to Enter the Theatre

On January 20 I went and viewed "The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt." Before coming to the theatre I read what the play was about and I was excited to come to the theatre and experience the story myself.

The Spatial Experience
Entering the Constans Theatre

When I entered the theatre I was excited to see the performance and experience how the actors were going to portray the story. I do not believe that the location played a large role on my experience, other than it was easy to get to because the theatre is in the Reitz Union. The theatre itself was larger than I anticipated and what I could see of the set was intriguing. When the lights finally dimmed I was elated. Overall, I believe that the large parts of the stage that expanded to the sides of the theatre and across the middle of the seats really brought the performance to its viewers and engaged them even further into the play. In general, the purpose of place in the Good Life is to bring people together to give them all the opportunity to learn from a shared experience.

The Social Experience
Jorie and I

I attended the performance with my friend Jorie; together we read about the play's plot and once we were at the performance, read through the program about the various actors and actresses that starred in the play. I think that by attending the performance with a friend, I was able to express my thoughts and feelings about the play during intermission and afterwards, which enabled us to both have a conversation about the play's meaning and the performance overall. The role of shared experiences in the Good Life is to articulate similar and different ideas about the same experience. Additionally, shared experiences identify different ways of thinking and perceiving same ideas in new ways, which challenges the way that we think and gives us a new perspective.

The Cultural and Intellectual Experience
Quebec City, 1900

The central issue addressed in the performance was inequities between social classes during the early 1900's in Canada. Throughout high school I studied deeply about the divide between European social classes, however I never learned much about the social classes in Canada. Throughout the play I forgot from time to time that the play took place in Quebec City, and not Europe, until one of the actors would reference the location. The performance did not make any great changes about my views about the divide of social classes, but rather reminded me that social divide exists everywhere in the world during every time period in history. Social divide does not have a strong tie within my own life because I have been privileged enough to not have to experience the hell of poverty. However, I have witnessed numerous occasions of people starving and freezing, volunteering in China and in my hometown of Philadelphia, simply because they can't afford to live any other way. Although social dived doesn't have a relationship to my own life, I believe that in my life there is an intellectual divide is vast between the education I am receiving, versus some of my friends who live somewhere where education is not a top priority.

The Emotional Experience
Mixed Emotions After the Play

"The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt" provides an opportunity for katharsis because it discusses Talbot's hellish journey to attain a better life, which did include poverty and rape in accordance to someone that is considered in high regards in the religious world. The Divine sheds light on the role of the church during the 1900's, which did play a large role in social and political life because it prevented people from viewing and experiencing things like Sarah Bernhardt's play, which some consider to be religiously irreverent, while others consider it to be politically disrespectful. The play highlights the power the church has by emphasizing its efforts to conceal the horrendous misdemeanors of its priests, while at the same time attaining its high regard because of its place among social standards. The Divine unveils all of the ugly and horror that occurs behind closed doors, effectively allowing its characters to 'come clean' and reveal their true selves and actions.

Created By
Brittany Hillman

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