The Spatial Experience
As I entered the theater I was led down to my seat. I was lucky enough to be sitting in the very front row for the performance. My seat gave me an amazing view of the performance. When the lights first dimmed and the cast came out on my left and right I was amazed. I was so close to them that I could see every last detail on their costumes. I did not realize how many people were truly in the auditorium until intermission when I looked behind me to see a sea of students in the theater. Being so close to the stage the direct size of the auditorium did not have a profound effect on me. Place has a direct effect on the good life as it alters your views of what is around you. If I were to have sat in the back row my experience would be very different.
The Social Experience
I attended the play and was seated next to my friend Daniel. I got ready for the performance by throwing on one of my favorite Polo shirts and walking over with my friend. Attending the play with a friend was fun. It was not something either one of us generally attend so it was a new experience for both of us. It was also helpful to have someone to take my picture before the event. Shared experiences builds connections between two individuals and helps strengthen friendships. Strong friendships are in my personal life a key component of living the Good Life.
Me outside Constans Theater before the play started. Picture taken by my friend Daniel.
The Cultural and Intellectual Experience
The play took place in Quebec City in what I believe was the very early 1900's. The play touches on many fine issues such as religion, the arts, poverty, and the innate human passions we each have. As a christian man I have knowledge of my religion. However, when watching the play it is clear the differences religion had on societies in today's world compared to the time of the play. It was interesting to me that simply an act of art could be banned by a religion. The socioeconomic issues presented in the play led me to think deeply on my ideas of business and regulations. The play made me stop and remember that throughout the world there are still instances where young children are working long days to simply make less than one dollar. I have read excerpts from books such as "The Jungle" where it describes working conditions during the time period so I was not very surprised by what the play portrayed but rather reminded myself that this is still going on. My views on the issues were not changed but it does lead me to remember what is still going on in society to a lesser degree. The only relation I draw to my personal life and the play is finding the balance that religion should have over a multicultural society.
The Emotional Experience
The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt provides us an opportunity for katharsis as it shows the problems that society has on a social and economic level. It shows our world over one hundred years ago, yet there is still many parallels to modern day society. In many countries around the world different religions dictate what is acceptable in societies and some free speech and expression can still be censored. Also, an emotional connection is made for the characters that are working in the factory. We often forget or overlook the fact that all around the world this is still happening. The only difference is that instead of having shoes made in the factories in North America such as in the Divine, it is iPhones and other products overseas. This is the ugly truth about the society we live in. The play can provide an opportunity for katharsis if we recognize the many parallels present from the play and if we as a society stand up for the basic principles of humans, and strive for a good life for all.
After the play ended I read over the play guide to further enrich my experience.