The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt by: Colt Ridgeway

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Spatial Experience

When entering the auditorium I was overwhelmed with the memory of when my grandparents would take me to the nutcracker during Christmas time in Melbourne. This was always a very positive experience in my life and it was a welcoming feeling when I felt familiar with the settings I was entering. My seat location greatly effected my experience in the way that I was more involved in the performance becasue I was in the very front row in the middle of the stage. I had a very clear view of the show without any obstacles obstructing my view. This allowed me to really get the most out of the performance and get the most details from each reaction of the actors and with the littlest motions they made during their performances. When the lights dimmed and the audience quieted, we waited for about 30 seconds until the actors came onto the stage. Being in the front, I did not see any actors enter onto the stage so when they started yelling from somewhat behind me I jumped out of my seat a little. At this point in the performance I was still uncertain of what to expect from the play and I was still a bit uninterested to say the least. My only experiences with auditoriums for theatrical performances have been in very large theaters that were much larger than the theater that this performance was in. This played into the fact that the performance felt more personal and it seemed as if it was a private showing that was created just for me. The role of Place is very important in achieving ones own "good life". Belonging and feeling like you should be somewhere is something that can have an enormous effect on the way you perceive an experience. In the theater, I did not feel like I was somewhere that I would choose to be on my own time so it was not an extremely familiar place. This made it feel a little more detached of a performance to me and that could lead to my experience being completely different than someone who is very active in theater and has an interest in it.

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Social Experience

I went to the performance with two of my friends that I am often with. We made plans to go with each other a few weeks back so that we didn't feel alone during the performance and also so we had something we could do together. To get ready for the performance, we went and ate some dinner together at the Reitz Union Food Court so that we could meet up before we went to the auditorium and the food court was also very close to where the play was being performed. Attending with friends made the experience much more enjoyable in my opinion. I had some people there who I am close with and so I didn't feel out of place when going into the theater, which is not somewhere I would be comfortable on my own. The comfort that having my friends offered allowed me to open up more to the experience and be more wiling to accept the things going on around me. I think this was important for me to become fully immersed into the play and all the sights and sounds that came along with being in the theater. Shared experiences are huge for the "good life" in my opinion. I think that the more I can relate to others, the closer I become with them. My closest friends are those who I am the most similar to, so having shared experiences with them allows us to bond over the things that we agreed on and disagreed on about what we did together. This act of communication about our individual view points is extremely important for growth of relationships and connections between people, allowing someone to achieve their "good life".

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Cultural and Intellectual Experience

I think the main issue of the performance was the differences in social classes of the characters within it. Before coming to this play I have been friends with people from many different social classes and people from a range of influence. I know a lot about how different groups of people see each other in different ways and how the opinions of some people form through purely inaccurate information. I think the performance changed my view in the way that I never saw what it was like to look at someone though such a biased perspective before. I have never put myself into the shoes of someone who judges someone else on just their past, their fame, o many other factors, without taking into consideration the feelings of the person or who they are on the inside. This isn't a way that I think and it is a different perspective that I can now appreciate for what it is and understand people who look at others in this way. I think that having many people who come from different backgrounds and circumstances in my life, I can really understand a different perspective than something that I have ever known before. This is not something that I have personally experienced because the people I associate with don't look at others in this way so I am gaining a new perspective from this play.

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Emotional Experience

I think this play allows for Katharsis in the way that it shows the audience a dramatic look at what its like to judge someone without getting to know them. This is a very major issue in the society that we live in and especially in this country, and we need to look at the lessons taught in this play to help us all attain enlightenment. Understanding others and appreciating them no matter where they come from or what they believe in is something that I think is crucial in achieving the good life. Love and compassion for everyone regardless of reputation or standing is very important and this play emphasizes this to the audience and allows us to think about what we need to do to fix our bias that we have.

Credits:

Created with images by kawanet - "Auditorium"

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