The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt Cameron Kocan

The Spatial Experience:

I was immediately surprised on how large the theater was because most people often overlook it when at Reitz Union. The setup reminded me of that of a movie theater except something peculiar about the stage that made it seem endless. I think this effect was achieved by positioning the floor of the stage closer to the eye level of the audience. As a result, we are reminded that the meanings presented in the play can be appllied to bigger and more current issues. Prior to the start of the play, I noticed how there was walking room in just my row. This allowed for the actors to introduce themselves more personally while actually being one in the crowd for a moment and for us to see the characters more close up! It was interesting to see how once the lights turned off, all conversation ceased and directed everyone's importance to the center of the stage. Place seems to play a relatively important but a varied degree role in determining the good life as

The Social Experience:

I attended the play on January 25th with my roommate, JP, whom also is taking IUF1000. To prepare for the show, we overlooked the common etiquette and directions for attending a play so that we knew what attire would be appropriate and what we should look for when watching the play, specifically any overlap with the good life. Also, how long the play would last is important to know so you can arrange dinner and other plans since the last thing you want to be is too hungry that it is hard to focus. At first it took me a minute to understand the story as its a play about a play and I was able to clear this confusion by discussing with my roommate during intermission. It really helped to go to a play with someone that is already familiar with the routine. Also, more people open the possibilities to many more interpretations as JP came up with ideas that I had not thought of and vice versa. Shared experience also known as memories are what we live for in the respect that if you go through life with no recollection of all the happiness you shared with others, did you really live? It helped having someone that also shared an appreciation towards a common subject. The good life must be self achieved but others are necessary as well. The people directly behind me that kept talking during the play represent distractions in attaining the good life so I advise one to bring a friend with.

The Cultural and Intellectual Experience:

The two main social issues discussed in the play, censorship and the oppression of the Catholic church, reminded me of the European history course I took in high school. In relation to the good life, true enlightenment can not be attained through censoring as seen with Siddhartha and the firs tribe. Often when reading history, we forget to realize that some more recent history was not too long and more similar than we give credit to. The play made this reality set in as we could really identify with the characters unlike in textbooks where a figurative 'space' separates us. The main conflict seems to be between theater and religion. Although the two contradict in some ways, the playwright wants us to see the surprisingly similarities between the two that have led them both to play a significant role in attaining the good life. Particularly, religion plays a more important role in attaining my 'good life' ; however, the extents of these vary on the individual. Also, it reminded me of how to often we only consider religion to be old texts such as the Bible rather than modern philosophies of life. Theater was first introduced to me during summer when I took Intro to Theater and to me it represents a balance and open mindedness as the arts are very different from the sciences that I am used to studying.

The Emotional Experience:

Katharsis means to 'come clean' and the first step of Katharsis I believe is to admit ones' wrongdoings and this play does no different as it confronts social issues such as the corruption and censorship of the Church and how religion has an undeniably important role in society as well as attaining the good life. However, is this Katharsis limited to only the radically religious groups of people? NO, everyone can use the lessons emboldened in this play such as to not let society limit one. This was not the first time I have seen media used to speak about the corruption in the church which seems to be very ironic since at other cases, it represents purity. This reminded me of the whole expectation verse reality concept and how things are not always how they appear and that everything should be questioned. Especially with politics today, I believe this play outlined several concepts of corruption that we can apply to society today. The priest sent that is in love with Sarah represents the conflict between inner and social pressures that dictate what we do in everyday life.

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