The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt Louise Ellisen

Me and my 3 sorority sisters prior to entering the theatre.

The Spatial Experience: I was one of of the last to arrive at the theatre, so when I initially walked in, I was forced to sit in the back with my friends. I don't feel as if sitting in the back hindered my experience and perspective of the performance. I expected to be disturbed by phone screens of those texting or simply the desire to look around at the audience, but I instead was drawn directly to the stage. The theatre was not particularly large, so I had an easy time concentrating on the performance instead of being distracted by the amount of students in attendance. The small size of the theatre, placement of my seating, and short waiting period of time for the play to start overall enhanced my experienced and allowed me to enjoy the performance.

A "selfie" taken at the end of the performance.

The Social Experience: I attended the performance with three of my sorority sisters, none of whom were particularly excited to be spending their Sunday watching a play. Prior to arriving, we were all studying in the library, finishing up last minute assignments. We came straight from the library, and were even one of the last to arrive because of traffic and the bad weather conditions. Although none of my friends were excited for the performance, the attitudes di not change my perspective on the play itself. Having my friends watching it with me allowed me to feel relaxed, and also provided me with clarity during scenes I was confused with. Sharing the experience with others rather than simply attending by myself allowed me to make an event more enjoyable because of their presence. Incorporating social interaction in your daily lives ultimately enhances your Good Life.

A picture of myself outside of the theatre

The Cultural and Intellectual Experience: The central issues of the story from my perspective revolved around acting upon personal belief, despite societal pressures. A quote that stuck with my from the performance that I believe captures the essence of the play was, "Outrage does not serve purpose without justice." Although I am not completely well versed with the time period and the division of the church, I understood the concept and the consequences of what happens when you act on a revolutionary opinion due to the present issues of Women's Rights against the presidency of Donald Trump. This play helped better shape my perspective on reaching justice because it displayed the struggles that come with acting out of societal norms. Recently, the Women's March took place after the inauguration of the 45th president, which I took part of here in Gainesville. I also gained intellectual experience in the Talk Back after the play. I gained insight on what the actors experienced as they connected to their character. This play showed another example of injustices and the roads to fix them.

The Emotional Experience: The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt provided the audience with an opportunity for katharsis through the feeling of empathy for the character depicted. Because we were able to have an attachment to the characters and recognize their struggles, it allowed us to reflect on ways we struggle and what causes that. When we were able to watch the characters finding justice, it provided a sense of second-hand courage to the audience members to do the same in their own life. Personally, it reminded me of the pressures of college and the lack of understanding I feel from my peers about my Christian faith. Because of these pressures, I often find myself succumbing to temptations in order to find security in the opinions of others. This play and the idea of katharsis allowed me to examine my choices and helped me to build stronger courage for my future actions so that I can stand up for myself and my beliefs.


Created with images by juliejordanscott - "Sarah Bernhardt, Another Woman Who Changed the World"

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