The space in the theatre building was very fluctuating. The entrances and ticket lines were very confined, without much room to move around or congregate, but the auditorium itself was very open feeling, possessing high ceilings and a wide, angled design. Being close to the stage definitely improved the experience, as it gave a feeling of greater intimacy with the actors, while farther seats felt detached and isolated. The lighting changes gave the theater a feeling of fluctuating sizes, the darker times feeling more spatulas and mysterious, and the light times feeling more limited, as the room's boundaries were more rigidly defined. The size of the auditorium was perfect, anything smaller would have felt claustrophobic, and anything larger would have felt too overwhelming. In the good life, place indicates possibilities; each location allows its own sets of activities and potential events.
Fiona Reid and Ben Sanders. Photo by Emily Cooper.http://www.post-gazette.com/ae/theater-dance/2015/09/27/Stage-reviews-Shaw-Festival-a-smorgasbord-of-theater/stories/201509270057
I originally attended the play alone, not having arrived with any companions. However, I ran into several old friends who were also in attendance, and sat with them from the intermission until the end of the play. Attending with friends made the experience much more enjoyable, as we could compare thoughts and perceptions throughout the performance. They also gave a sense of comfort, and belonging. To prepare for the play, I selected an appropriate attire which I felt matched the atmosphere of a student performance. Shared experiences give value to the good life, as many experiences lose their worth when nobody else can appreciate them at the same time.
Ric Reid, Darcy Gerhart, Fiona Reid, Andrew Bunker and Ben Sanders. Photo by David Cooper http://jameskarasreviews.blogspot.com/2015/08/the-divine-play-for-sarah-bernhardt.html?m=1
The play caused me to examine what themes of injustice may still exist in modern times. I thought about the lack of labor laws in the industrial revolution and reflected on how some low income families face similar experience by being forced to take multiple jobs to provide for their families. I also thought about how institutional corruption still exists today, but is covered up by those with power and influence. I knew nothing about the play before the performance, but knew that labor laws were either nonexistent or not enforced during the industrial revolution. The performance affirmed these views. I am lucky enough in my own life to have avoided such injustices.
Wade Bogert-O'Brien and Ben Sanders. photo by David Cooper. (http://jameskarasreviews.blogspot.com/2015/08/the-divine-play-for-sarah-bernhardt.html?m=1)
The Divine offers us a chance to reflect on our own values and choices as a form of katharsis. We can view whether or not we have stood against injustice, or whether we have embraced a consumer society which has no regard for the less fortunate. We are also brought to face what decisions we may have made if we were Michaud or Talbot, presented with the opportunity to denounce scandalous standards or to allow them to continue unchecked. How we relate with each character allows us to see ourselves in them, and to decide if we are satisfied with that comparison. I we are like Brother Casgrain, then we should be dissatisfied with ourselves. If we are like Michaud, then we can see that we fight against injustices and can be proud to do such honorable work. Essentially, the play allows us to see reflections of ourselves and evaluate what changes we need to make.