The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt By andrea Vrionis

Spatial Experience

When I entered the auditorium, I felt excited because I typically enjoy plays. Seeing everyone in their seats ready to watch the play filled me with suspense and even more excitement. My friends and I sat in the middle of the theater giving us the perfect view of the stage. It was a pretty full audience with people all around me who all quieted with anticipation as the lights dimmed. With the lights dimmed and the audience quiet, I began to feel curious about what I was about to see. The environment around you can really affect the happiness you feel and your pursuit of the good life; the environment I had around me during the play served only to enhance my experience, with my friends next to me and an audience full of suspense and interest (at least at the beginning).

Me before entering the theater

The Social Experience

I attended the performance with two of my good friends. To get ready for the play we read a description of the play online and also the instructions on canvas for attending the play. Going to the play with friends really enhanced my experience because I was much more interested with them there than I would have been if I was alone. When I got bored, it was my friends next to me that motivated me to stay and keep watching with them. I believe shared experiences are the most important experiences in the Good Life because you share experiences with the people you love, and for me the Good Life is about being with the people that I love and the people who make me happy. Sharing experiences can make a completely ordinary experience like going to the grocery store into a really fun experience if you’re with the right people.

My friend Maddie in the lobby

The Cultural and Intellectual Experience

This play really helped me to see the problems with our class society and also showed me potential conflicts between morals and ethics. I had learned about child labor, women working hard long hours, class conflict, and labor unions in history class in previous years, but I never really understood the severity of these problems until I saw it right in front of me on stage. It doesn’t yet relate to my life specifically, but I now see the world and people differently. Like they said in the play, when you buy something you don’t think about who made it and what their working conditions are like. Because of this play, I’m now more attentive and sensitive to things like that.

Picture of Child Labor in Quebec (http://www.duhaime.org/LegalResources/EmploymentLabourLaw/LawArticle-650/A-Minors-Job-Employment-Law-For-Children.aspx)

The Emotional Experience

The play addresses many socially uncomfortable and controversial topics mainly through the character of Sarah Bernhardt. She boldly criticizes society, religion, and politics, but even though she criticizes everyone else she too lies and experiences her own katharsis. The Divine specifically allows for katharsis by showing the characters going through emotional turmoil and distress when they try to hide things and keep things in. By seeing the consequences of their uncovered lies and their eventual katharsis, it provides the audience with its own version of a katharsis where a sense of relief washes over you when the truth finally comes out. It also motivates you to apply this katharsis and the relief of coming clean to your own life outside of the play.

My friend as we're leaving the play
Created By
Andrea Vrionis
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