The Divine Good Life SarahIlana Rosner

Picture by Sarah Rosner

Spatial Experience

The physical environment of the theater was a smaller theater than I am used to. I grew up on the stage. I did drama club from second grade until my senior year of high school. However, I do think a smaller theater was a better choice for this place. The play did not have many characters to move around on the stage. At most, there was about seven characters on the stage. I am used to having to watch 200 people on a stage. I was seated stage left in the middle row. The view was nice. I was able to see the entire set at one time. I didn't have to turn my body or face to see the characters as they moved. The middle section always has to turn their body in order to follow the characters as they move across the stage. When the lights finally dimmed and the audience quieted, I became very excited. I am not one to sit through a straight play. I tend to enjoy musicals more often. It was also nice to experience a play in the shoes of an audience member. It was a completely different experience from being on stage. When you're on stage and the lights dim, you finally experience nerves. It signals that it is your turn to go speak your lines or sing your song. All eyes are on you. It was a nice change to go out and support my friend Tyler and see a play from the other side. The role of place is important in the good life because good life is all about balance. Place and understanding space is very important. If you over step, you will not experience the good life. Place has much to do with self- identity. Recognizing where you are and experiencing flow will help you achieve the "good life".

Friends by Sarah Rosner( with permission from Chyenne Bliss, Alexa Signori, Lexi Miller, and Miranda McManus)

Social Experience

I was so happy to go and see this play with my friends and sorority sisters. We were able to laugh together, cry together, be surprised together, and experience all the emotions together. They definitely made the experience of seeing The Divine a memorable one. In order to get ready for the play, we all had dinner together and made the play an event to hang out all together. When you are in a sorority with over 253 girls it can be hard to make time to hang out with all your sisters. I think this experience brought us even closer together than before. We all sat together and before the play even started we began to talk about what we were learning in our good life classes. It was a nice way to catch up on what everyone was accomplishing in the spring semester. During intermission, we would discuss our favorite characters. In addition, we would talk about how we liked or did not like about the play. We almost had a mini good life discussion class. Shared experiences is very important in the good life. As we saw in Siddhartha, one cannot experience enlightenment without the help from others. My friends have helped me learn new things about the world and even my self. If I was confused or had a wrong perception about a topic, my friends are always there to explain it to me in a way I can understand. History does not consist of one person's experiences. History is the study of cultures, people, religions, and even art. Not only one person in the entire world can create history. It is the necessary effort of multiple people. God did not just create one person but two in the beginning. It is shared experiences that matter.

Sarah Bernhardt-

Cultural and Intellectual Experience

This play made me look at my own culture in a new perspective. This play takes place in the early half of the twentieth century in Quebec City. During this time, the church was a big part of life in Canada. The Church strongly influenced law, education, gender roles, and life in Quebec City. The central issue of this play was grappling with the fact that the Church prevented the city from experiencing anything that would be considered heresy. During this time, Sarah would act in plays that disagreed with the Church. She often portrayed the Church in a bad light. She was very promiscuous during her lifetime. She had many suitors and had a husband. She and her mother were both courtesans at one point. A courtesan was not viewed as a good profession by the Church. During many of her performances, Sarah played characters that were not seen as traditional feminine roles. This also leads into the theme of honor and truth. Sarah Bernhardt was always true to herself and never let the Church or anyone dictate what she could and could not do. She was a performer. Notably, Sarah is recognized as one of the best actresses of all time. I knew a little bit about Sarah prior to this play because it was my nickname growing up. I also was heavily involved in the arts growing up and we learn in high school about many famous actors/actresses in drama history class. Originally, I knew about Sarah and her plays but I never knew about her life and the seminary. This play taught me a few things about the life of Divine Sarah that I never knew. The play further enforced my view on the issues that were discussed. I grew up in New York and we learned about the shirtwaist fire from third grade until junior year of high school. New York focuses on the issued between church and state. Our curriculum also focused on worker's rights. Unfortunately, the play does not have anything to do with my life specifically. However, the play does touch on gender roles and women's rights. Women's rights are a contested issue at this moment in time. Sarah stands up for the poor and women by not taking a seat in important issues. She visits the factory and takes nontraditional women's roles. She is not an outspoken feminist but definitely shows feminist qualities.

Constans Theatre by Sarah Rosner

Emotional Experience

The Divine helps us to experience catharsis in many ways. First off, the main conflict is the battle between the proletariat and the bourgeois. Michaud comes from a high class upbringing in Quebec City. Talbot, on the other hand, came from a single mother family. He grew up poor. His mother and brother both worked in a factory to help pay for his education. Talbot thought the only way out of poverty was to become a priest. Michaud wanted to be a playwright but it wasn't socially accepted by the upper class. This conflict brings up an emotional response right away. The audience begins to consider how its own economic status plays into its life choices. Secondly, the issue of worker's rights brings the audience a cathartic response. When we hear about the death of the twin girls that died in the factory. We experience this same emotion during the scene where Leo dies at the factory. We get emotionally attached to the characters because they represent us in a different light. The last time we experience an emotional response, at least for me, was the very last scene of the play. This scene culminates the play as a whole. The last scene depicts Sarah standing up against the church and taking a stand for what she believes in. The chills run further down your spine when Talbot and Sarah read lines from what would be the play that Michaud wrote.The Divine is an example of a tragedy. According to Aristotle a tragedy must include a person from great station experiencing a fall, due to that character's hamartia. The character must also experience some form of anagnorisis. These criteria also establish the grounds for catharsis. In summary, The Divine, a tragedy of character, provides an emotional response from the audience during the many up and down points in the plot. It remembers a time that women didn't have rights, the poor were getting poorer, workers didn't have rights, children were treated poorly, and people were afraid to stand up for themselves.

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