The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt Huyen Truong

The Spatial Experience

As I entered the auditorium, I noticed how dim the lights were casted above the seats. It created a mysterious, yet magical feeling in me. I had never gone to see a play before so I didn't know how to feel about the mystifying atmosphere. The floor and seats were a dark crimson color, which added on to the atmosphere. Although it was very dark in the auditorium, it was also very big so that the audience didn't feel closed in. When the lights dimmed, everyone immediately hushed. Luckily, I was seated in the middle towards the front and was able to experience the cast walking through the aisle when the play began. The setting plays an important role because it has the power to create atmospheres that can affect your emotions.

The social experience

I attended this play with one of my roommates. We got ready together and were excited for the play since we both have never been to one before. We thought the dress code was interesting and had no idea there was even a dress code for watching plays. Prior to the play, we actually looked up proper theatre etiquette. When we arrived, we were coincidentally seated next to a group of our friends. As we watched, it was nice to have friends because we were able to laugh, comment, and enjoy this new experience together. I think it's important to acknowledge that happiness is best shared with the people we are surrounded by.

The cultural and intellectual experience

The play addresses many issues like child labor in work factories and social oppression. Before the play, I was aware of children in the workforce during the Industrial Revolution. After watching the play, I was able to get a realistic depiction of the working conditions in the factories. Prior to the play, I unaware that the reason workers put up with this harsh conditions was because they were threatened to be replaced by machines. This issue doesn't resonate with me but I am aware that child labor is still a current issue that takes place in third world countries.

The emotional experience

Katharsis is specifically evident when Bernardt wishes to expose the injustices she witnessed at the factory in her play. She was genuinely surprised at the oppression and wanted to shed light on the reality of the harsh working conditions. During the play, she advocated for Michaud to write every truth he found while following Talbot, no matter how awful and disturbing it was. She believed that theater needs to be able to introduce social issues to the audience in order to make change.

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Huyen Truong

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