My experience seeing: Luke Mahan

Interesting architecture outside the theatre

The Spatial Experience

The spatial experience of seeing The Divine was enjoyable. Theatre has a dreamy feel to it. The lights are dimmed and you can only see the stage. The ushers were well organized in escorting people to their seats in a timely fashion. Most people were seated by the time I entered, and thus I had to take a side seat. This detracted from the viewing experience somewhat, but it was still easy to take in the show.The lights dimming made the crowd quiet down and pay attention to the stage. The large auditorium allowed for many people to all be together, but there was still a feeling of intimacy, with actors running up and down the aisles next to me.

Spatial environments are very important for creating an emotional experience. Subtle things like lighting, acoustics, decoration, and temperature all add together to create a memorable experience.

Sculptures inside the theatre

The Social Experience

The social experience was enjoyable for me. I went alone to the theatre but enjoyed being around many people. I was listening to some Yann Tiersen on my way over to the theatre and that put me in a relaxed mood. The night air was brisk and the campus was very quiet on my walk to the theatre. I sat next to some nice people and we chatted briefly before the show began.

Sharing experiences with friends is a vital part of good mental health and living enjoyably. Humans are social animals by nature of our evolution and we rely on having relationships in our lives. Our relationships with people in our world ultimately determine our sense of self. Without solid relationships and people to challenge us in our lives, we become very insecure and unsure of our connection to our world around us, which is infinite. By sharing an emotional experience with someone we care about, it gives validation to our feelings and our connection with the world around us. It's what makes us feel human.

The Cultural and Intellectual Experience

The cultural experience was very enjoyable. I learned a decent amount about theatre during the turn of the 20th century. Sarah Bernhardt was an incredibly fascinating figure during this time. She learned how to play with public image, aesthetics, and play to people's fantasies to create a very interesting figure in theatre history. She is very akin to more contemporary superstars such as David Bowie or Lady Gaga who relish the opportunity to create a vivid persona that draws people in. Michaud's starstruck attitude is a great example of this.

The play explored problems of working class struggles, conflicts of interest in religious organizations, and discovering the ultimate truth. I am aware of the social problems caused by the industrial revolution and the social inequalities this caused. I haven't experienced serious poverty myself, thankfully. The performance made me think much more about the effects of rapid industrialization and worker's rights. During this time there were not many unions or rights afforded to the average worker. Corners were cut in search of more profit for corporations and factories, and the common person paid the price. We live in a different world now, but there is still much to be done in regards to reducing class inequalities.

The Emotional Experience

Life is not perfect and people end up suffering needlessly often. Fear and greed drive many modern developments in industry and technology. While this is often pursued under the guise of improving people's lives, technological comfort does not always equal spiritual fulfillment and growth.

Theatre is unique in that it gives us a medium for expressing emotions felt in life experience. It is an attempt at a lifelike recreation of reality. We explore people's experiences in different settings, times, and cultures. Theatre is timeless in this aspect. We step into another world and empathize with what another person may have been feeling at a certain point in history. We feel Mrs. Talbot's pain when she loses Leo to the dangerous factory. We feel Michaud's wonder and amazement of meeting his theatre idol for the first time. And we question our own faith and what it means to us as we see Talbot's own struggle in the church and it's painfully strong dogma.

The talkback at the end was a great experience for us to learn from the actors' own beliefs on their chosen art form and what is means to them. They were all pursuing some form of fine arts bachelor's or master's degrees. We discussed the role that theatre plays in educating the public about social issues and allowing people to empathize with a different era in history. We are able to step into another world and environment and try to understand what drove people to feel and act the way they did. This is more important than ever.

Theatre, like other art forms, allows us a medium for being a part of something larger than ourselves. We lose our ego and fear of the unknown when we pour ourselves into our chosen craft. This is the most beautiful part of humanity. No amount of money or power can compare to feeling connected with the present and giving back to the world. Art is needed more than ever in our world of materialism and fear of the unknown. Art allows us a medium for focusing on our emotions and creating something that can be enjoyed by other humans.

Created By
Luke Mahan

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