The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt by tayla regenbaum

The Spatial Experience

Upon entering the Constans theatre, the first thing I noticed and that caught my attention was the scene on stage. I had no expectations for the play, as I had never heard of it before, however, the stained glass windows and the beds really intrigued me and were aesthetically pleasing. I was seated on the left side of the middle section, which made some of the scenes on stage left difficult to see, however, the overall view was fine. When the lights dimmed and the audience got quiet, I got this feeling of excitement, as I love attending plays and watching people perform. The theatre was a bit cold, which hindered my enjoyment because I was shivering the whole time, but the lighting was very well done and drew the focus directly on the actors and the stage in front of us. I think place plays an important role in the good life because I don't think one can find true happiness unless they are where they want to be and meant to be, with physically and mentally. Though not broadway, you could tell those actors and actresses were truly in their element and where they wanted to be, performing on the stage in front of a crowd. In life, it is important to find your place and to be doing exactly what you want to do. I feel that if we are not where we are meant to be, we will feel trapped and stuck. Traveling around and finding your niche is one key to living a good life.
before entering

The Social Experience

I attended the play with Maddy, both my roommate and classmate. We dressed up for the play (if you know us, you know we're normally in running shorts and sweatshirts, so this is dressing up) and grabbed some dinner right before heading over to the theatre. It was fun to go with a friend to see it because we both had our own opinions of the play and the setup and everything involved. We discussed the stage setup before the play started and threw in some whoa's and ahh's as they changed the beds to tables with sewing machines for different scenes. At intermission, we discussed some things about the play that we didn't understand and tried to help each other out. I think shared experiences are very important in the good life because, yes there are benefits of experiencing life on our own and discovering ourselves and what we like, however, there are also benefits of journeying with friends in order to see another perspective of the same experience at the same time. Shared experiences allow you to view the world in a way that might not have been possible without another set of eyes, ears, and cultural backgrounds. We both enjoyed the play, and felt the same way about it being a little bit too long, but overall we were confused at the same parts and enjoyed the others together.
after the play

The Cultural and Intellectual Experience

Before attending the play, I had little to no knowledge regarding the history of the events of that specific time period, or the Catholic Church's views of the art world. Therefore, there were many aspects of the play that were quite confusing and difficult to understand, even with the context. But the gist of the play was that two seminaries were sent to tell the famous actress Sarah Bernhardt that she would not be able to perform per request of the Catholic Church. The one seminarian, a theater lover, is reluctant to deliver the message and ends up writing a play for the "Divine" Sarah that must be completed in 3 days before she leaves, representing one side of the battle, the theater side. On the other side is the other seminarian, coming from a poor family that lives with the struggles of child labor and an abusive boss, as well as a secret that accentuates the exploitations of children by the Church. Coming from a family of South Africans and having visited the country, the issue of cheap child labor and poor living conditions is very common in third world countries and is difficult to bring to the attention of those who have never experienced a day without food or water in their lives. The conflict between the rich and the poor exists everywhere, and it will continue to occur until we get up off our high horses and recognize those in need.

The Emotional Experience

This play provides us the opportunity for katharsis because it enlightens us with the injustices of society and some of the sacrifices that people make in order to make ends meet and ensure that their family is as content as possible. It shows us how the church exploits impoverished youth and traps them in a way that can become unhealthy. It shows us the ignorance of the upper class when it comes to social status and how one truly doesn't understand struggle until it is happening to them. By watching this play we can come clean to ourselves about the injustices of our own society, the discriminations against certain races in our country, especially now. We have to stand up for the people that don't have as loud of a voice, just because of their skin color or their religion, in order to unite and bring peace to the world around us. Instead of getting the latest piece of technology, we should give charity or donate our clothes to those in need. This play opened my eyes to the pain that people go through just to make ends meet, something that I've never truly experienced in my lifetime. It exposed me to some of the sacrifices people make for others and the secrets that they keep just to protect themselves and their families. There are a lot more serious things in life than what we normally concern ourselves with and this play makes that very apparent.

the end

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