The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt emma stepno

The Spatial Experience

The Constans Theatre, located in the Reitz Union, was interesting in that I walk past it several times a week and never even realize that it's there. We were sat in the front of the theatre, in the second row behind the break in the seats. Since the actors often used this break in the seats to walk amongst the audience, so it was immersive to be that close to the performers, and to be able to take part in the performance in that way. Although it was a fairly small house due to the fact that it was the last show being performed, it's still exciting how the entire audience hushes and finds themselves entranced by the story as soon as the lights go down and the performers come out. While it was a smaller theatre than I was expecting (as it was significantly smaller than my high school theatre), I feel like that allowed for a more intimate experience.

The Social Experience

One of my roommates and I went to go see The Divine together. Since I just moved into a house with fifteen other girls, it's nice to go to things and get to know each other, especially since I'm the only new girl in the house and they all know each other from last semester. We left after dinner, and it was nice going with someone else so that we could discuss the performance afterwards. Shared experiences, and overall spending time with friends and family is important to the Good Life because humans are social creatures and we rely on social interactions in order to lead fulfilling lives.

The Cultural and Intellectual Experience

The theme how poverty is brought about by societal apathy was really highlighted through the setting of the late 19th and early 20th century, and by the hypocrisy of both the Catholic church and the theatre community. I have actually studied works on the terrible labor conditions during the Industrial Revolution before: Lyddie by Katherine Paterson is about a young girl who goes to work for the textile industry in order to support herself, and they briefly touch on the poor working conditions and the strikes that followed as a result; and The Chimney Sweeper is a poem by William Blake with a theme incredibly similar to The Divine in that it focuses on a young child who slaves away and who will eventually face death due to the squalor in which he works. While I already support lower and middle class workers' rights (such as a fair minimum wage, and vacation days and paid maternity leave for new mothers) it did cause me to consider where I purchase my products, as consumers' willingness to purchase goods produced through what is essentially slave labor is a huge part of the problem.

The Emotional Experience

While the first half of the play really lacked an emotional impact due to the issues with pacing, the the second half was able to provide that impact with events such as the reveal of the cover-up of child molestation by the Catholic church, as well as the death of Leo Talbot allowed the themes to resonate with the audience. The speech by the factory owner over how a lady only cares about getting her pretty shoes at the best price, no matter who it hurts as a result, also stuck with me due to the fact that I'm sure many of the clothes I buy are cheap in part due to poor working conditions in other countries.

Made with Adobe Slate

Make your words and images move.

Get Slate

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.