The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt E'lysse Santana

I attended the Good Life Performance of "The Divine" on January 21, 2017. I found it inspiring and thought-provoking, and thoroughly enjoyed the performance and being able to see the actors afterward.

When I first entered the theater, I was surprised at the simple beauty of the set. The stained glass windows and simulated snow was aesthetically pleasing, and contributed to a peaceful atmosphere. I was seated in the middle towards the back, so unfortunately I was not able to view the actors as well as I would have hoped. But when the play finally began, I felt the similar excitement that I always do at the beginning of a movie of performance. The auditorium was a comfortable size for the stage so that I could still see the stage. The Good Life can be influenced by luxury, and the atmosphere of the theater felt luxurious and appealing.

I attended the performance with one of my closest friends along with her boyfriend's roommate. I sat next to her and therefore was able to make comments throughout the play to make sure that we both understood the plot. I am glad that I decided to dress a bit fancier than I usually would out around campus because it made going to the play seem like more of an event, especially for a Saturday night. I am glad I went with friends, because we were able to discuss the play before and after the experience. Having other people in one's life is an essential part of the Good Life, because shared experiences leave a lasting imprint on one's memory.

Retrieved from: http://www.performingarts.vt.edu/events/view/divine

Viewing the performance, especially since it took place in a culture so different from ours, allowed me to think about human issues outside of the perspective of myself. Before attending the performance, I did not know much about the subject matter other than what we were supposed to read. I prefer to go into movies or plays without knowing much about them, in order to form an opinion solely based on what is presented to me. I was impressed by the way the playwright blended humor and serious dialogue into the play in order to keep the audience engaged. The play addressed the juxtaposition of the life of poverty and of luxury, which is very relevant nowadays, especially with the current economic and political state of our country. It also addressed the interactions between religion and the censorship of art. I was able to see into the minds of the characters, truly understanding their motivations.

Retrieved from: http://arts.ufl.edu/in-the-loop/news/the-divine-a-play-for-sarah-bernhardt-opens-january-27/

I think that The Divine took a unique approach to portraying a particular plot. Having a playwright figure within the play was interesting and new, and the character himself was a good source of comic relief. The Divine provided a look into poverty and factory life, without hiding the realities or grittiness. It also tried to blatantly show the hypocrisy of the censorship of art, and used relatable characters in order to continually make statements about humanity in a larger sense. All of these things contributed to a sense of truth and frankness, which exemplifies the sense of "katharsis."

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