The divine: A PLay for sarah bernhardt TAYLOR alexander


As I entered the Constans Theatre, a feeling of excitement fluttered in my stomach. I smiled and giddily chatted with my friends as we were hastily ushered to our seats right next to the aisle in the fifth row. With just enough room to stretch out my lanky legs, I was content, and was left to anticipate the dimming of the lights and the voices that would soon boom from the speakers. I love seeing plays, and with the atmosphere being a huge part of such an exhilarating experience, I was interested to see how the crowd of young students would react compared to the older crowd I'm usually a part of at the theatre. Place plays an important role in The Good Life; what you surround yourself with molds your experiences and personality and often dictates your happiness. For example, I did not know if it would be enjoyable to watch a play with my peers as I knew how talkative I am and how an older crowd wouldn't be present to stop this. Yet right on cue, when the room went dark and snow started falling from the backdrop, a sudden hush fell over the crowd, and I smirked from my seat, never really expecting less.


Prior to arriving at the theatre, my friend Meaghan picked me up from my dorm. She had brought along another friend, and we met two more when we got to the theatre. I was nothing less than my weird self through all the banter and laughter as we took goofy pictures of one another (hence, me attempting to play the piano in front of a whole line of strangers). Having my friends alongside me during the play lightened the mood and made doing a school assignment less of a chore, and more of a memory. Shared experiences like this play a crucial role in The Good Life, as we surround ourselves with the people we want to be like, and ultimately bond with them through our experiences. These make us happier, healthier, and help us improve ourselves in the moment and for the future.


"The Divine" provides its audience with different perspectives on societal issues. It displays the viewpoint of the church against the views of a liberal actress. This can symbolize the groups that clash even today, like the divide between conservatives and liberals that continues to grow - especially through this past election. The central issues addressed in "The Divine" are the divide between the Church and a growing progressive society, and the divide between the rich and working class. My knowledge of these issues before witnessing the play was somewhat developed. As a practicing member of the Catholic church, yet a liberal in my beliefs, I understand the struggles in communication and how the different sides can sometimes be misunderstood. I also was very familiar with the labor disputes and hazardous working conditions during this time because of my two classes that focused on these issues last semester. Although the play was interesting, for me, this performance of "The Divine" failed to strike me at a deep enough point to alter my views on the issues it addresses. I believe this is because I am already able to see and understand both perspectives. Church and state should be kept separate, and it is important that labor is both fair and safe. I greatly identify with the subject matter however, as I endure these struggles everyday. As I walked out of the theatre that night, I took this picture of a telescope, believing it was truly representative of looking into someone else's perspective and opinions.


"The Divine" provides an opportunity for katharsis (which also directly translates to English as catharsis and my computer continues to autocorrect it every time I type the Greek version so please bear with me as I throw my laptop against a wall. Also this sentence is so long that the voice in my head runs out of breath reading it but technically it's legal so please continue) as it throws at its audience a numerous amount of internal and societal issues that not everyone is comfortable addressing. For example, the hazardous working conditions and unfair wages of the time are sometimes uncomfortable to talk about, especially since it is continued in many third-world countries - and even some parts of America - today. By focusing on this issue, however, "The Divine" is able to draw attention to this prejudice that still occurs and cleanse the self of its ignorance. In discussing the divide between conservative and liberal point of views, the performance also purges stereotypes that one may have formed about the other, which can cause a release of tensions towards the other side. This katharsis can be symbolized by the eventual cooperation between Talbot, Michaud, and Bernhardt. The issues the play addresses can be uncomfortable, but sometimes it is necessary to be uncomfortable to better yourself and really understand how to live The Good Life. *I have decided to include this picture of a quite slick looking red man, as it made many of my friends feel very uncomfortable outside the theatre. Foreshadowing? Probably not, but he is intriguing. Also once again I'm failing to come up with a good conclusion sentence, so the last sentence of this paper is just going to be about a strange statue of a red man.
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Taylor Alexander

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