Good Life Performance The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt

Photo from: http://arts.ufl.edu/in-the-loop/events/the-divine-a-play-for-sarah-bernhardt/

The Spatial Experience

The Spatial Experience: I was very impressed by the physical setting of the theater. Though I have passed through the Reitz Union hundreds of times, I've never been inside of the Constans Theater, so I was taken aback by the sheer size of this auditorium that I previously did not know existed. I was also impressed by the craftsmanship and detail in the on-stage props. I thought they truly added to the atmosphere and setting of the play, and I found the versatility of the props - such as how the beds transformed into factory machines - to be incredible and a testament to the designers and engineers that made them. But above all, what I found most astonishing was the sensation when the lights dimmed and the audience chatter silenced. It's amazing to know that so many people can suddenly stop what they're doing and focus on one place at one instant, and I think that's essential to having the good life - to be able to come together as a community in one place for a common goal. This picture was taken by me, Zach Weisblatt.

The Social Experience

The Social Experience: I had intended to meet up with some friends to see the play, but unfortunately, we never connected and found each other inside the theater. However, when I arrived, I ran into an old high school friend of mine. We ended up sitting together to watch the play, and I think this experience proves the power of theater: sharing these experiences can bring people together, or in this case, reconnect old friends. This picture was taken by me, Zach Weisblatt.

The Cultural and Intellectual Experience

The Cultural and Intellectual Experience: While The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt takes place in early 20th century Quebec City, many of its themes and values can be extrapolated to modern society. The issues addressed in the play are some that still permeate our lives today. For example, a major subject addressed in the play was the unfair and unethical working conditions in the factory. Though not as extreme now, problems with equal labor rights continue globally, with millions fighting for equal pay and stronger safety regulations every day. Going into the play, I didn't realize how strong some of these issues were only a century ago, such as how involved religion was with politics, or the negligence many people felt towards child abuse. The Divine opened my eyes as to how far as a society we have come in correcting many of these social ills, as well as how much work we still need to do to truly eradicate these evils from our global community. This picture was taken by Michelle Ohm.

The Emotional Experience

The Emotional Experience: The katharsis provided in The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt is less of one that correlates to the problems of our current society, but is more of an opportunity to reflect on the issues of our past. The critical look at the then-widespread problems of ignorance, corruption, labor conditions, and poverty brought about in the play allows us to once again consider the importance of our progress over the past one hundred years. However, not all of this katharsis is retrospective in nature. While we can admit that these issues are not as prevalent today as they once were, we are still confronted with the predominant matters of modern society, like equality, immigration, tolerance, and unequal income. And while we can be proud of our progress to less radical issues, our "coming clean" is to admit we are not perfect, work on correct these problems, and strive toward a better tomorrow. This picture was taken by Michelle Ohm.

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