The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt By: Melissa Mikush

The Spatial Experience

While growing up, my family lived for the experience of going out to dinner and seeing a theatre performance afterward. I've seen so many different types of productions such as, Wicked, Phantom of the Opera, Newsies, Pippin, Beauty and the Beast, and I Love Lucy the Play. As I entered the theatre, it brought me back to my childhood and I felt extremely comfortable and at home while walking in. I loved how spacious and sophisticated the theatre felt while sitting down and the amount of people who came to watch made the experience even more special. My friends and I sat near the back of the auditorium and during the performance it was hard to hear the actors at times, but I was still truly amazed at how well they projected their voices throughout the whole theatre. When the lights were dimming and the audience quieted, it was an indication that the play was finally about to start and it suddenly made me very eager yet excited to watch the performance. In my opinion, the role of place and the role of who you are with at the time are equal in establishing the Good Life. For example, if I had not gone to this play with my friends, I most likely would not have enjoyed it as much, and if I had not seen the play in such a nice auditorium, that may have put a negative impact on my experience.

This is a picture of me beside a portrait inside the lobby of the theater.

The Social Experience

I attended the Good Life Performance with my roommate, Abby, and my two friends Mackenzie and Janet. Prior to going to the show, we all made sure to reserve tickets at the same time and we all read a brief description about The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt. Watching the performance with all my friends made my experience more enjoyable, because it made attending the show seem less like a forced effort. We were all able to bond during the intermission by discussing what we liked and what we didn't like about the first act. Also, during intermission, strangers who were sitting around our seats politely joined in our discussions and I learned about other people's perspectives about the play. We all found it to be an overall pleasant experience, because it allowed us to sit down and enjoy a live performance without having to worry about school work or any other stress related situations. I believe that shared experiences serve a huge role in the Good Life, because it enables us to grow close to the ones we experience the situation with, and it lets us gain different viewpoints on the same subject matter which can benefit us in the future.

This is a picture of the people who attended the play with me upon entering the theater.

The Cultural and Intellectual Experience

Upon attending the performance, I knew little to nothing about the subject matter regarding the plot. I was honestly not thrilled to learn that the play took place in the early 1900's when first hearing about the play. Storylines that take place in that specific time period have never successfully gained my interest, but after I read a basis of The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt, the plot intrigued me. The performance was centered around the challenge of embracing certain changes and confronting the existing state of affairs such as political or social views. The play did not entirely change my views about these issues, but it did serve as a reminder to all the people in the world living in poverty and to those protesting about political views. I can relate to Talbot's family in regards to not being a "perfect" or "ideal" family. I believe that every family has their flaws and at the end of the day, we're all their for each other and we all learn from each other.

This is a picture that I took of the front of the playbill.

The Emotional Experience

Katharsis refers to the meaning of the word purification. It is the Greek ensemble that engaged poetry, music, dance and song to purify one's soul. I think this play demonstrates katharsis in many different ways. The play itself shares opinions that no one else maybe is not willing to share. Theatre and politics scare some people because when confronted with the option of sharing your opinions, some people tend to shy away and not speak out their minds. The term katharsis showed itself in the play when Talbot was being forced to admit his crime of stealing when in reality he was a victim of emotional and sexual abuse. Even when he had the opportunity to speak the truth, he still backed away and refused to tell the truth in order to protect his family. There would have been consequences and he did not want his family to continue to struggle even more than they have been. Throughout the whole play, my attention was never drawn to anything not related to the play and I found that to be very special. It was interesting to look deeper into the play instead of just simply watching and comprehending the plot.

Every person showed in my photographs has given me written consent.

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