The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt By: Dara Oyewole

The Spatial Experience: Going into the theater, I wasn't sure what to expect. The stage was set really minimally and it was relatively dark. I was sitting on the right side of the auditorium (actor's left) and I was in the section of seats directly behind the aisle. I didn't know that during the play the actors and actresses would use the stairs and aisle to walk and by doing so they really included the entire audience in their performance. Before the play started mostly everyone around me was complaining about how long the it was going to be and how they hoped it would be interesting. Once the lights dimmed, the audience quieted and a sense of anticipation took over everyone. I personally couldn't wait for it to begin because besides reading the small synopsis of the play in the program we received, I had no idea what the play was about. I think the theater in general is somewhere everyone should occasionally visit because it can cause someone who wouldn't normally think about it to be more creative which could ultimately lead to a version of their Good Life.
The Social Experience: Due to a conflict in my schedule I had to attend the show on a different day than most of my friends. Going into the auditorium I was expecting to just sit by myself, watch the play, and leave. But while I was in line to check in, I began a conversation with a complete stranger who I ended up sitting by once we got inside. This enhanced my experience because before the play started, during the intermission, and after we left the auditorium, I had someone to talk to about the play which helped me get a better understanding of the play in general. To get ready for the performance, I read the instructions on what we were to do as Good Life students once we got to the theater. I also glanced over the Study Guide on The Divine provided by Prof. Watkins. I think the role of shared experiences in the Good Life is to allow humans to see and compare themselves to others and through that determine if this experience helps lead to their Good Life and if not, it helps us learn more about others and their versions of the Good Life.
The Cultural and Intellectual Experience: The play was at first hard for me to follow considering it was set in a different country (Canada) and a different time period (1905). The play mostly focused on how society focuses on all the wrong things. The arrival of Sarah Bernhardt caused quite the stir throughout the whole town and it made people of the town drop their lives worrying about her. At the same time, another character, Talbot spends the play focusing on finding where he belongs in life. This is a sentiment that many of us in the audience could relate to because we are all doing the same thing in one way or another. Watching the play made me take a step back and really think about what I value and prioritize in my life. At the end of the play some of the actors and actresses came out for a Talk Back with the audience where we were allowed to ask them questions. This was a nice experience because aside from being asked simple questions about the play itself, we got to hear them talk about things that mattered to them and real life issues that the play addressed. I think that was an important time for both the audience and the actors and actresses.
The Emotional Experience: The Divine provides us that watch it an opportunity to really think about what things we allow in our lives and to think about what we place value on. As humans we all have our things that we think make us happy and that we think will help us attain our Good Life. Those things are what we place value on. In the play, Talbot struggles with finding what is going to make him happy and spends a lot of time self searching to try and figure out his life. Another big aspect of the plot was the distinction between the privileged and the poor. In society, those who are wealthy are seen as being happy and appear as if they have already achieved their good lives. This aspect of the play also caused many in the audience to consider what makes them happy and made them think about if being rich was ultimately all they wanted out of life.

{All of the images used in this spark story were taken my me on my cell phone}

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