The Divine:A Play for Sarah Bernhardt Kassidy Klein

The Spatial Experience: When I first entered the theatre I was surprised at how real it looked. My initial thoughts were that a theatre inside the Reitz Union would not be the most elaborate, however I was glad to be proven wrong. The theatre lobby made me feel as if I were attending a play in New York city, as for the full three hours of the play I completely forgot I was even inside the Reitz Union. I enjoyed where are seats were, we didn't get to choose where we were seated however I was glad we were seated in the front because I was able to see all the actors and actresses up close. When the lights dimmed and the audience got quiet, the "theatre experience" was put into full motion. I was lucky to not have anyone talking around me and I was able to enjoy quietness for the entire show. Since I was seated in the front of the theatre I really did not notice how large the theatre was until I got up during intermission and saw how many were there. I enjoyed being in such a large theatre with a lot of other people.
The Social Experience: I went to the show with two other people. Sabrina, whom I met during Preview and have stayed close with, and the other friend was a friend of Sabrina's whom I had never met before. I made sure to contact Sabrina because I really did not want to sit in a dark theatre all alone surrounded by other people. I got ready for the performance by myself. I had the dorm to myself for a couple of hours so I decided to get a bit dressed up and do my hair and makeup. It feels nice to get dressed up every once in a while. Before the show started, Sabrina and I ate dinner at Wendy's in the Reitz Union. I enjoyed going to the play with my friends because I felt we shared the experience together so it was easier to talk about afterwards. Furthermore, I'm glad I had two friends next to me to make (quiet) comments when something emotional or shocking happened during the play.
Cultural and Intellect Experience: The play takes place in early 20th century in Quebec City, Canada. I think the central issue addressed in the play is realizing the real-world problems of the world such as hard-child labor , the power of the church, and the importance of the arts. I knew nothing about the subject matter before attending the performance other than I knew it was based off of a book. For me, the performance really brought light onto the subject of child labor. When I saw the play I could literally feel the emotions of the actors when the little brother died in the factory, it really put the whole thing into perspective. I realized the true dangers of child-labor and the horrendous circumstances that forces families to put their children in these conditions. I think the subject matter does have a strong relationship with things happening in my own life. For example, I am quick to say I am against child-labor, however perhaps then I should start paying attention to the clothes I wear and the shoes I buy and where they come from. I think this brings light to the hypocrisy that exists in the real world.
Emotional Experience: As I said before,the play brings into light a lot of controversial topics talked about today such as the power and exploitation of the church, child labor, the arts, and poverty. By watching the play I think you have an opportunity to think freely about your opinions on these topics, develop a stance, and start conversations. I think this is a good example of Katharsis. Specifically for me ,the play helped me notice how at times society, and myself, can be hypocrites regarding these social topics. Talking abut these topics is very important because I think it is essential to attaining a good and happy life. These topics are things that effect people everyday and we can only learn by talking about it more. Finally, by talking about these controversial topics in a play I feel like more people are willing to listen and learn more about the topic discussed than in a different setting. The theatre itself is a good opportunity for katharsis, where people relax, think freely, and express themselves openly.


Kassidy Klein

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