The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt Yehyun Mun

Spatial Experience

For starters, I had the hardest time finding the theatre. I had to call my friend and have her escort me to the entrance. All I remember about the outside of the building were the blue lights that lined the sidewalk and Green Pond right outside of it. Because I was in such a hurry, I did not have much time to acknowledge the room as I was rushing into the theatre. What I did notice during intermission were the two abstract figures in the corner of the room, one dressed in an American outfit, the other plain red. I am not quite sure why they stood out to me, but I definitely started to realize the artistic aspects of the theatre as I observed bits and pieces of decoration after my note of these figures. Once settled down in my comfortable seat in the theater, I took some time to appreciate the setting. I was in the center of a room that was much smaller than I had anticipated. I was seated in the center seat in the center row, perfect place to observe the play as a whole, while still being able to notice the detailed expressions on the actors' faces. Before anything happened, it was dark, and all I saw were empty beds with plain white sheets. I did not feel too comfortable staring at the stage; it had a spooky vibe, sort of what I would expect a horror film to be taken place in. Once the beds, the lights, the glass windows, and the ladder in the center sinked in, the audience quieted, creating a bit of a tension, and the play started with a loud and captivating introduction.

Place, whether it be physical or mental, helps reflect upon what has happened and predict what will happen. Regarding the play, I was not too close to the stage to where I would be too caught up in solely what was happening at the moment. I was not too far from the stage to where I would not be able to appreciate the details of every movement of the actors. Right in the middle of the room, where I sat, was the ideal place to put every element into perspective, which is crucial to the Good Life. Place is important not only to enjoy the little things in life, but also to take a step back every once in a while to appreciate the big picture.

Social Experience

Written permission of Maria de Andre (pictured on the right) is attached.

I attended the play with one of my closest friends, Maria. I have known her since sixth grade, even if we were not that close of friends back then. College brought us closer together, and I am glad to have had her there to experience the play with me. We planned to go together as soon as the assignment was announced, and we booked the tickets at the same time to make sure that we could attend the play on the same night. We were supposed to meet up outside the theater, but as I mentioned earlier, I got lost, so this good friend of mine found me struggling outside of the Reitz Union and guided me inside. Having Maria there with me definitely made it a more enjoyable experience. First off, I probably would not have made it to the play if it wasn't for her. Second, we could make comments to each other about what we thought about a certain scene, character, line, or even a small gesture, which allowed me to be more aware of what was happening in the play and helped me further engage in it.

Shared experiences is one of my most valued aspects of life. No matter where I am, or what I'm doing, nothing affects my experiences more than the people I share them with. Being able to discuss which scenes I liked and disliked gave me a better insight on the play, and enhanced my logical abilities. Having someone to partake in an adventure together can heighten the excitement, or in other situations, alleviate the pain. A person to bring some logic into the mind, while allowing an indulgence of joy every once in a while, is almost a necessity in the Good Life.

Cultural and Intellectual Experience

Vineberg, Steve. "The Divine: Too Much Going On." The Divine: Too Much Going On. Critics at Large, 17 Aug. 2015. Web. 06 Feb. 2017.

The hair and clothing gave away the difference in time period between today and the setting of the play. Although I knew nothing about the play coming into it, these aspects, along with the style of speech and decorations of the setting, reflected the pop culture of late 1800s and early 1900s. The fact that I could understand and relate to situations in the play, which was taken place over 100 years ago, was surprising to me. The desire to be the top, the controversy of various ethical issues, the sacrifices made to achieve a goal--these are issues that today's society has faced in the past and will continue to face in the future. Obviously, these concerns are within a different context, but the possibility of drawing a parallel from two very different time periods was very intriguing. The play did not change my mind about how I feel on certain controversial topics, which I am usually left with no definite answer, since I do see both sides of every story. It did, however, allow me to realize that some things are static throughout generations, and people will encounter similar complications one way or another.

Emotional Experience

The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt has made many people, including myself, distressed. It had addressed various concerns of the early 1900s that I know of only from history textbooks. Watching everything happen with my own eyes has definitely made the issues more personal and identifiable. The emotions that have come and gone has made an impact on my experience of the night. The play insists that these situations could have very well happened, and if these matters are not brought to attention, many avoidable harm can be done and overlooked. It shows that secrets seem to only complicate lives, and grants us the opportunity to grasp that being human comes with mistakes and losses, but also realization of priorities and what truly has meaning. It provides a katharsis for the audience, because the dramatic ending is the ultimatum that everyone can subconsciously expect of certain aspects of lives that bring unhappiness. The shock that comes with the play can provide an initial recognition of what it means to be happy through the empathy and engagement asserted by the play, and act as a catalyst for the people to act upon they honestly believe to be right.

Written Permission

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