Introduction - In the play, The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt, two men from opposite sides of the social spectrum meet and in an unlikely turn of events their meeting will eventually lead to the exposure of the status and lifestyle of a poor family in the 2nd Industrial Revolution Era.
The Spatial Experience - As I entered the auditorium I felt as if I myself as a person did not belong. Not that I felt uncomfortable, but rather all my life I had never experienced a play or an auditorium setting like this. People were there to greet me and move me to my seat, one which gave me plenty of space to relax and focus on the play. I was directly in the middle, where a platform was located for the actors to walk through. This definitely helped the experience as it brought me closer to the actors without physically interacting with them. The experience itself helped me realize that the setting and situation you are plays a strong role in the sense of belonging that plays along with your idea of "the good life". Another thing to note is that in the talk back the actors said that everything set in the performance as well as the auditorium is meant for a reason. How characters who are polar opposite in nature are opposite from each other on the stage.
The Social Experience - Because I went to the play with a good friend of mine the experience as a whole was better than if I didn't. We met up in the lobby and because we sat together I was comfortable enough to engage in conversation with people around us, something which I am not generally attuned to. Sharing the experience with the people around me as well as my friend made the experience a lot more memorable. Because of this it made me realize the importance of the social aspects of life which we may sometimes ignore or not take hold of which can help us realize what it means to us to life "the good life".
The Cultural and Intellectual Experience - The performance helped me realize the different lifestyles people are attuned to and how people take things for granted. It helped me understand the hardships of the late 1800s and early 1900s and how the country was made into what it is today. Before the performance I already knew about the hardships of the poor but I didn't know to what extent. I hadn't realized the severity of it. The performance itself did not change my views about the issues but it did shed a new light on some of the grander aspects of it. I wasn't strongly affected by it mostly because I too experienced something similar but at a smaller scale, when my parents had moved to the US with nothing with them, essentially starting from scratch.
The Emotional Experience - The play provides us an opportunity for katharsis in the sense that it opens us to political and social issues which still lie today. It helps us realize how lucky we are as people who get to go to college, who get food and a roof to live under every single day. How in order to understand what it means to be human and to be happy we have to first understand what its like to live without all the materialistic things we are accustomed to everyday. Because of this we are then exposed to a new viewpoint on society. Where some people who looked differently to people who aren't as fortunate now realize the things that everyone has in common, that we are human.
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