Good Life Performance The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt

The Spatial Experience

The physical setting of the building as we walked towards the theatre was very interesting. Rather than the building be plain white with no decorations, there were cool, colorful glass decorations that hung from the ceiling. These ornaments made the area appear more inviting, making our experience walking into the theatre more exciting. The role of place is definitely important in the Good Life because a place greatly contributes to whatever event might be taking place there, and the amount that one absorbs and enjoys in doing something is very significant in finding the good life.
Inside the actual theatre, the environment was that of a quintessential theatre perfect for any performance. Since we got to the theatre pretty early, we got seated very close to the front, on the right side in the second row. Our seat location definitely made the play more enjoyable, because it made us feel more part of the play rather than just somebody watching it from all the way in the back. Before the actual play began, it was pretty noisy with students talking, laughing, and getting to know those that they were sitting around, however, when the lights dimmed and everyone became quiet, it was a whole new experience. The silence of the audience expressed a bold feeling of excitement from all of the students waiting for the play to begin. I really liked the size of the auditorium because it wasn't huge, so it made the performance feel more personal for those watching.

The Social Experience

I attended the performance of the play with two friends. One of my friends has the same Good Life professor as me, while the other one does not, so it was very interesting to go with them and discuss both the similarities and the differences in what we had all discussed within our lectures and discussions so that we could understand everything from different perspectives. It was very nice to attend the performance with friends because it made it easier to step out of my comfort zone and go and attend the performance, since that is something I don't normally do. It was also very convenient to have my friends sitting next to me during the performance in case I missed something that an actor or actress said. There were some people around us who were constantly talking through out the performance and although they were faint whispers, it was still annoying to have to sit through. In the Good Life, it is important to undergo shared experience with others because it allows for a connection of shared perspectives about a certain ideal.

The Cultural and Intellectual Experience

It is very interesting that The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt was the play for this semester, because it actually takes place somewhere very familiar to me. Both sides of my family come from the Quebec City area, so realizing that before coming to the play instantly made it more interesting for me. I did not know much about the play before attending the performance, other than the general plot that I had read about before arriving just so that I had a broad understanding before actually seeing it. There were many issues dominant through out the play, but the one that stuck out as most significant to me was the contrast between social classes of Michaud and Talbot. This matter didn't specifically relate to me personally, but the reason it stood out to me the most and seemed most important was because it is an issue that I have seen before whether it be in other literature, movies, or even real life experiences that I have heard about. I think the performance truly emphasized both the contrast between social classes and the aspect of labor abuse, which definitely would affect most of the viewers watching it. Other central issues in the play were the struggle between religion versus the rest of culture, the abuse that took place within the church, etc. At the talk back, I was able to connect intellectually even more to the play because it manifested how the actors became one with their characters and connected with them to portray on the stage.

The Emotional Experience

All of the issues that were demonstrated in the play definitely caused me to feel something, emotionally. The idea of katharsis, or coming clean, definitely occurred for us, as the audience, during the play because of the outside perspective we had on all of the emotional topics. The concept of katharsis is seen throughout the play, majorly through the character of Michaud. His character is the one that comes clean about what really happened to Talbot, and as a viewer watching this change within Michaud, it definitely affects our emotions as we watched. The topics that some may usually be uncomfortable watching produce emotion within us as an audience.

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