The Spatial Experience:
I had never been inside the Constans Theatre prior to this play, but I was impressed by it's layout and aesthetic upon entering. Though we arrived early, there was a long line of students already waiting and taking their Good Life pictures outside. Our seats were fairly close to the stage, and the actors would walk through the crowd interactively, making it a very intimate experience. When the lights dimmed and the noise of an auditorium full of college students faded to silence, I was ready for the play to start, not having any prior knowledge of what it was about or any central themes. I think setting play's an incredibly crucial role in the good life, because where you are and who you have around you significant impacts your life and the decisions you make throughout it.
The Social Experience:
I went to the play with a friend, but ended up seeing other acquaintances and classmates as well, who were there for class credit. The was a steady buzz that filled the auditorium as we patiently waited for the curtains to open. My friend Jessica and I decided to make a "date night" out of the whole thing, and got dressed up, went to dinner, and saw the play. I believe that made the whole experience a bit more fun, because as college students we really don't have the funds to spend a night out on broadway, but we got to pretend like we did. Though I really do appreciate my alone time, I think sharing experiences with others or making the best out of situations you don't particularly want to be a part of together, plays a role in "The Good Life". I know that my life wouldn't be nearly as fulfilling if I didn't have loved ones to share it with. Yes, setting is very important, but if you have someone with you that makes you happy, then it can play less of a role.
The Cultural and Intellectual Experience:
I am currently studying the early 1900's and the industrial revolution in my American History class, so the time period in which The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt was very relevant to my studies. The poor working conditions that forced families to send children to work and sacrifice so much can be exemplified by Talbot and his family, as well as the other workers in the shoe factory. I didn't even consider the options that one might have to choose between such as those of Talbot, in pursuing a life that you don't want to live within a community that has perpetuated abuse, for the sake of ones family. I am fortunate enough to never have been put in that position. After the play, as I walked through Ritz Union back to my dorm, I felt a profound appreciation for the opportunities I have been given and the time I was born in.
The Emotional Experience:
I tried my best to draw parallels between the play and what I see happening both in my own life and the world around me. I think that the political climate in the country we live in and passing of legislation such as a Muslim Ban, which is unconstitutional and wrong, and our reactions as citizens to these events relates to the play. Slavery, apartheid, and the holocaust were once seen as "legal" or "ok". Just because something stems from a position of power like the government or a church, does not make it OK, nor does justifying these wrongdoings. The protagonist in The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt is forced to choose between exposing his abuser and the entity of church that protects him, or remaining silent, and avoiding the potential embarrassment. I sometimes feel scared to articulate my own views around those who don't agree, and I think that the whole election was so divisive and hostile that it left many feeling similarly and not speak up when they feel it necessary. It may be a reach, but I think watching The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt and seeing Michaud struggle to bring justice to his friend though theatre provided katharsis in that way.