James Gets Cultured For the good life

Constans Theater itself was an impressive venue. When I entered the room, there was tension in the air. Students were filed in to their seats by the attendants. There was noise, but it was apprehensive, aware that at any moment it would be hushed and the play would begin. I sat in roughly the middle row, towards the right. The good lifers to my left and right were disinterested, no doubt eager to get it over with. Finally, the lights began to dim, and silence slowly took the crowd. Everyone was ready, willing or not, for the performance. After the fact, it has struck me how much the space in which something occupies matters. It dictates the mood and flow of conversations. It challenges you to examine things differently. Some environments are more agreeable than others. Where you are, I have realized, affects how you feel and define the Good Life. If so much of your attitude and course of action depends on your environment, it only makes sense that how you attain the Good Life depends on your environment as well. (Picture from http://mapio.net/o/950632/)
I went alone. I hadn't the chance nor particular desire to sync up my attendance time with that of my friends, which is fine by me. Friends in these sorts of events frequently get in the way of letting you appreciate the performance. Only when they too share your goal of fully absorbing and experiencing the work do they prove an asset. Too many times have I found myself trying to take in a movie or museum, only to have my immersion broken by a friend that just isn't in to it. Still, when you do hit that sweet spot of taking just the right friends to just the right venue, the experience is enhanced considerably. Having people you can bounce ideas off of and compare experiences with often proves to be just as insightful as the piece itself. Still, I went alone, and learned enough through reflection as is. The people around me were strangers, and disinterested ones at that. The two on my right left during the intermission. Sharing an experience may be the best way to go about it, but maybe next time.
The Divine seems to be a play about plays. Or more specifically, a play about social commentary. The most poignant scene in this regard is Sarah's visit to the factory. While the cast discusses social inequity and child labor, an actual child below the floorboards dies because of the discussed issues. The whole thing is pretty meta. While people put on plays and write books about problems, those actual problems are busy destroying people's lives. It brings a pretty interesting perspective to my own position in life. While I attend classes at a nice, liberal college campus in the United States, people are suffering elsewhere. While I sit around and write and read about problems, those problems are actually going on. It calls me to action. The Divine dares me to go out and actually combat those problems. It says that possessing this knowledge isn't enough. It falls to those who know what is happening to get change going. We live in a world now where sitting around and yelling about the injustice via Twitter is the norm, instead of actually fighting injustice. The Divine is more culturally relevant now than ever. (Picture from http://arts.ufl.edu/in-the-loop/events/the-divine-a-play-for-sarah-bernhardt/)
The Divine brings a kind of katharsis to the audience. As with all plays, the spotlight isn't really on the stage and the story, but on the listeners. The goal of a play is to teach real lessons with fake characters and fake drama. With the Divine, we see greed, exploitation, corruption, and almost every nasty vice humanity has to offer. But these characteristics come from us, not the derivative world of theater. We are given a mirror in which we see ourselves, ugliness and all. Innocents die and people suffer because many times, we let them. Society exists with social injustice, poverty, and corruption because we are the ones that create society. We allow these to flourish, because what is society if not a reflection of ourselves on a larger scale?The Divine lets us come clean that we are flawed, maybe not out loud, but privately. (Picture fromhttp://www.michelmarcbouchard.com/pieces-68.html)

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