The Cultural and Intellectual Experience: The central issue addressed in the performance was how authoritative figures can abuse the power they have been granted. Before attending the performance I had known that throughout history many powerful men and women had used money, position, and influence to maintain status and keep the mass majority of people below them. I was also aware that in the early Catholic Church many men utilized their positions and status as a means for abusing young boys and children. The performance changed my viewpoint on the issues of oppression and abuse. I had always assumed that the minority were oppressed. However, throughout the performance I could see that in some cases the oppressed are not always the minority. In the play we could clearly see that in actuality most of the people were poor and oppressed and the minority consisted of the few elites we were introduced to. This subject matter strongly relates to modern day society where wealth is not equally distributed throughout the world. Here in America a growing disparity or gap between the rich and the poor can be seen as there is a 1 percent of elites and the majority of Americans fall far short of that 1 percent dream and many require government aid to survive. As a victim of poverty and abuse from authoritative figures in my own life I deeply related to the themes of the play. My favorite quote was when Mrs. Talbot said, "They think we choose to live this way!". This was a personal favorite of mine because nowadays people act as though the truly poor should never be enjoy themselves or even buy into simple pleasures, such as going to the movies. If they do buy into these simple desires they are met with animosity as if one movie ticket for their child could have paid for their rent or made up for the government subsidies they so desperately need. They are not seen as fellow citizens in need, but are instead mostly looked down upon as leaches draining government funds and tax dollars. They are expected to live miserably all the time until they can afford to get back on their feet.
The Emotional Experience: The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt provides all of us with the opportunity to come clean with the modern-day times and issues of our society. Most us may not be working in slave like conditions anymore and the oppression may not be as apparent, but it is still largely present. The times may have changed, but unfortunately much of the harsh realities have not changed at all. Injustice is still very prominent in most societies around the world today. The powerful message and the pain exhibited by the actors on stage could be applied to multiple aspects of society today. All people are still not equal and I believe this play leads people to "come clean" or go through Katharsis because it points out the fact that most societies have never even come close to being idealistic playgrounds for freedom and equality. This play charges the audience to look injustice in the face, no matter how ugly, and examine how the same principals in the play are still very relevant in the struggles of many for the most basic human rights even today.