My Time at the Constans Theater By: Ayla Sage

The Spatial experience

On Tuesday January 22, I went to go see The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt. I had been inside the Reitz Union before, but never in the theater section. My friends and I all walked up to the front, had our gator one cards scanned and proceeded to walk inside, but not until a play bill was handed to us that gave us some information about the play we were about to watch. It was arranged similarly to most theaters I have seen in the past. The walls, chair fabric, and floor are all made with dark colors; the seats are on and incline and in the back there is a booth for someone to coordinate the microphones and lights. I very much enjoy seeing shows on Broadway in New York. The setting and all the hard work that the performers put into their acts makes it worth wild to see. In this play as well it was apparent how much the actors/actresses cared to put on a good show.

My seat location did not affect my viewing of the play too much. I was located on the right side of the middle isle more towards the back side. The lights dimming and the quieting of the audience did not have too much of an affect on me as it is something I have seen before. However, I was excited to see how the play was going to be. The auditorium was decently sized and could fit a large amount of people. It was set up like a typical theater would be. One’s environment can have a large contribution towards the role of achieving the good life. Being exposed to new places allows for learning. Gaining knowledge and insight is rarely a bad thing.

the social experience

I had planned to go to this play with my friends Marina and Claudia. We are all taking IUF1000 this semester. We then walked over to the Constans Theater. I had not entered this play with no knowledge. I had watched a video of the play that gave it some background information and had also double checked that I knew where the theater was so that I would not get lost. When my friends and I walked in, we were directed into a specific row and on my right was my friend Marina, and on my left was a boy whom I had never met before. I assume that he was there for the same reason I was. That it was mandatory that we go for our good life class. I enjoyed being with friends as it slightly altered my experience. I had asked Marina one or two questions about what was happening in the play since I was slightly unsure. If I was by myself I do not believe I would have asked anyone any questions. To be on a path for the Good Life, I think shared experiences are very important. They allow you to grow closer to people and have something to talk about later on. Although there is not a problem with being by yourself, it is healthy to be around others as well. You can learn things through observation. Good friends are very beneficial.

the cultural and intellectual experience

Since the play was supposed to portray a different time era than the present, I had to think a little harder about how it portrayed to myself and the things I do every day. Parts of the play made me feel very fortunate of the situation I was in now. I am a person fortunate enough to be able to attend a very good University unlike Mrs. Talbot, Talbot and Leo who have to struggle to make a living for their family. Families are still stuck in situations like theres currently which can be upsetting to think about. Details are obviously different as at the child is most likely not slaving away in a show making factory, but there are many situations where the entire family needs to work mainly physical jobs just to support each other. Everyone in the play is struggling with something slightly different. A common theme may be how everyone must deal with consequences to their actions and what they decide to sacrifice. Before attending the play, I knew this to be true. I came to the realization after the play that there are always other ways to handle problems. Although this is obvious, it was a good reminder. There is nothing specific, but this lesson pertains to situations that occur every single day.

The emotional experience

Theater a majority of the time provides a deeper meaning than simply what the story line told. It challenges us in all realms of emotions ranging from our inner most fears to pure excitement and exuberant happiness. The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt gives us many situations in which we could think about how we’d use katharsis. Starting from the beginning, what would you do if you learned your son had stolen expensive silverware? The twist to the question is that since the silverware is so valuable, it is very beneficial to you and your expenses. Also, what if you were the younger brother of the culprit? More importantly, this play challenges religion to social aspects. Michaud was supposed to condemn Sarah, but gets stuck in the situation of wanting to express his love for her/ the theater. Overall, the play was morally uplifting and challenging.


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