The Spatial Experience (Picture of Hanging Sculptures inside of Constans Theater)

Within the theater lobby, there is a distinct variation of designs and artwork. It gave one a welcoming vibe upon entering which added to the emotion of peace as well as excitement to see the performance.

Artwork within the Lobby of Constans Theater

Sitting in the first row, I was able to be fully immersed in the play and its thematic elements. It gave us a full view of the entire cast, while it also kept us more aware of detail and such. One negative of sitting in the first row would probably be the fact that one had to turn heads more often than not, but this did not take away from the overall experience.

In general, when the play first started, the dimming of the lights and the sound effects gave an eery feel to the performance. It left me without knowing what to expect from the play while also keeping me intrigued with how all the events could turn out. One could say with hindsight, that the eery feeling that the performance gave in the beginning foreshadowed how the climax would be dark, while the resolution would also in a way appear eery and mysterious.

Lastly, I would say the the importance of place and location in achieving the "Good Life" is dependent on where one is most at ease or enjoys the most. For me, it's on a sports field, or somewhere where I am most active, but for others, it could be at a theater, or a stage, or some sort of performance.

The Social Experience (Picture of myself first arriving at Constans Theater)

For this performance, I attended it with my friends Adam, Connor, Chris, and JJ. We originally sat at the very first row to start the performance, but at intermission when we went to use the restroom, our seats were taken so we resorted to sit in the back.

To get ready for the performance, I basically just put on a polo and some joggers. I didn't really believe the event was for much formal attire, but to my surprise, there was a good amount of students and faculty who actually dressed up well for the performance.

Attending the performance with my friends made me feel like we were all going through this performance together. Since it was an assigned project, it felt a bit forced upon us, but regardless, being with friends made the experience more enjoyable. We were able to relate more as a group that we were doing this together, and that for many of us, it was our first live performance that we went to watch during our time at the University of Florida.

This would then draw me to say that shareable experiences with people you enjoy to spend time with is an essential part in reaching one's version of the Good Life. Even if it's studying in a group of friends, playing a sport, going to events, it makes the experience that more enjoyable because you feel as if your experiencing the event at hand not just on the individual basis, but as a whole group.

The Cultural and Intellectual Experience (Picture of the Pamphlet given at the performance)

In The Divine, the plot revolved around Talbot, a man who is essentially scarred into repressing a traumatic experience by lying about what truly happened as well as Sarah Bernhardt performing a play that the Church considered scandalous. This is something that influences almost each and every one of us as humans. Many of us have repressed a memory from our past that has hurt us and we tried to grow from it or have done something that our elders or someone who we value would not feel particularly proud about. This was the central issue. It contrasted the fear that Talbot had about disclosing the controversial event, while Sarah Bernhardt had no issue in putting to light promiscuous as well as controversial issues that society was scared to hear about. When the Talbot lied about his molestation by the priest, he lied to paint himself as an assaulter in sake of his reputation and dignity. He denied any allegations till he was pushed to his breaking point and confessed to Michaud and Brother Casgraine.

Considering the time and place, one has to take into consideration that in 1905, the Church was the predominant force in many people’s lives. God was the priority, and anyone practicing the work of God is holy. It also gives perspective of how the behind the scenes of the church worked. Talbot in a way is seen as a rebellious character, one who in a way is defying the church with his attitude and mentality, but he was flawed considering that he was scarred by a rape. Had he released the truth, he would face public ridicule for putting himself over the church, as well as shame or having the whole world know of him being molested. Michaud however, disclosed this truth to the police, but this was without Talbot knowing, and who know’s how he still feels about it. Michaud and Sarah encouraged themselves in publishing the story (through the play) as well as Michaud disclosing the information to the authorities. They believed in morals and doing what was right.

Prior to the performance, I knew that this time period was known for being fanatically religious. I also knew that the Church had a history of molestation of choir boys and other members in the religious group and it was frequently kept quiet to save face and preserve the name/reputation of the church. To me, the performance didn’t really change much in terms of how I felt towards the main issues that the play brought to light. I always believed that doing what is morally right is worth the repercussions that follow, regardless if it is controversial or not. I still believe that the church in a way is a corrupted association, and that Michaud and Sarah were in the right to expose them, but I also have questions in terms of how deep does the corruption and rape cases go and how far did the church go to keep it hidden. These issues do not pertain much to my actual life, but the question that it poses “What is right and wrong morally and ethically?” is something that I take in consideration every time that a moral situation comes, and I always strive to do what is morally/ethically right, or basically for the greater good.

The Emotional Experience (Picture of myself leaving Constans Theater)

The Divine provides us an opportunity for Katharsis because of how the story line and the issues that it touches are correlated with “coming clean”. Both Michaud and Sarah influence this concept because they both come clean, but in different ways. Michaud releases the truth to the authorities in which he delivers the signed confession by the priest that raped Talbot. He helped Talbot come clean and have some sort of vindication for the horrific act that was committed. Sarah on the other hand didn’t succumb to intimidation by the Church, and still delivers a performance that opened eyes to how the Church tried to hold her back from facing controversial issues.

The Divine also presents us the opportunity to reflect on our own actions. At least in my case, I felt that after watching the play, I reflected on all the times I could have “come clean” whether it had been something good or bad. It made me think and react in a way that should I have the opportunity to be fully honest, I should do it regardless of the consequences. It would give me peace of mind, while also giving me the internal satisfaction that I did the right thing by being honest and not wither under negative pressures, much like Michaud and Sarah did (i.e. not cave under intimidation).


Andres Castilla and John Trentacosta

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