Experiencing The Divine by James Monahan


This is my experience of the play The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt with my best friends Chas and Chris. The play is about a young man that grew up in a poor family trying to better his life by becoming seminarian. This play was very well done as the actors did a fantastic job bring the characters to life. The play also did a great job presenting some of the social issues.

Spatial Experience

The theater was very nice and well organized. The stage was well designed so transition could be easily made throughout the play. As I walked in the light was dimmed to give the theater a mysterious feeling while hiding the props to the play. When I seated in the front roll to the right due to the tuned acoustic the play with not overwhelming but still engaging. Due to the small size of the theater it brought the audience into the play and it felt the performance was personally presented to the people that was there. The theater gives the audience sense of intimacy and wealth which helped putting the audience in the mood for a good play.

Social Experience

I went with two friends Chas and Chris. Before they play the three of us just knew each other because we lived in the same floor. Because of the shared experience of watching the play we became closer friends. We did not know what to expected from the play, before we sat down we read over the playbill to get a better idea on the play. Through out the play we were so pulled into the play non of us made a sound. Chris and I did not do anything particular preparing for the play, we just talked to each other getting to know each other. Chas prepared by the play by getting a nice fancy shirt for attending the play. Looking around us there was a lot of strangers that wear dress shirt and nice pants which give the event a sense of class. Attending the event with two friends helped me see the play through different perspectives as they pointed out some of the details I have missed. Talking to the actors after the play give me a better understanding of how the play was put together as the actors had to remember line research characters in their timeline and on top of all the actors were also full time students. Attending the play with two friends had brought us closer as we shared our different views on the play.

Cultural and Intellectual Experience

The play addressed three major issues in early 1900s first issue being the safety setting of factory, second issue being socioeconomic struggle, and the last issue is the corruption of power in church left unchecked. Before watching the play I knew about the issue of socioeconomic struggle and factory safety but I had no idea about the church since I did not grow up in a religious family. Growing up as a orphan in china I saw the struggle of people trying gain wealth but was not able to and the fear of working in a factory that is not safe was always a reality. This play gave me a different view on overcoming the social class struggle where I was lucky coming to America and also how my life could have been if i stayed in china and had to work in factory. This play also given me a insight abut church as I had no knowledge regarding the church. The play did a great job bring out these issues but they did not do the issues justice because it over dramatized.

Emotion Experience

I understand the play is a tragic play with younger brother dying in the factory and the seminarian being molested by the older priest. A tragic play is supposed to bring out the sadness in people and bring out the human flawless being a human. Personally the play did not bring out the emotion in me but rather it brought out the the annoyance as it forced me into topics I personally would not like to discuss. I personally do like to talk about social, political and religious debate as someone will usually will end in a bad mood and this play showed all three aspects. Presenting these topics through the play that i would personally try to avoid made me very uncomfortable and very annoyed with the play.

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