The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt Daniela Lopez

Foresight Construction Group. University of Florida Constans Theater Air Handling Unit T2 Replacement. 2016, Gainesville FL.

The Spatial Experience

Honestly, I was very intimidated by the theater, unsure of which entrance I was supposed to use, but once inside it was very easy to navigate which way to go. I found the beautiful floating pieces behind me in this picture to be very lovely and it set a beautiful tone. I sat in the third row which was very nice, and I felt truly immersed in the experience. When the lights went off and the play begun I was incredibly excited.

The Social Experience

I did not go with friends, but realized as soon as I sat down that I was next to another girl from a club I am in. It was a really cool and unexpected event that we ended up sitting together, and finding two other people from the club as well, who also moved to sit with me during the intermission. Aside from a few students, most of the audience was incredibly rude and came close to ruining my experience. Aside from the fact that many people came in t-shits and shorts, they also came in groups and would talk and laugh during the performance, at times so much I had trouble hearing dialogue. I was also distracted by the rudeness of students, including the girls next to me who eventually left permanently during intermission, who were on their phones and calling people during the performance. About two thirds of the audience left during intermission which was also incredibly annoying to me and, I can only imagine, the cast as well. They trained very hard for the show and people were rude and left during intermission for no reason. It was very upsetting. In that moment I did not feel any aspect of the Good Life and instead it made me cynical of the students around me.

The Cultural and Intellectual Experience

I am in a modern American history class, and we have been learning about the Industrial Revolution's effect on the lower class workers, especially factory workers in the North Eastern US. So, most of the information being taught was on a subject I had been learning for about a week and a half. I did, however, learn about Sarah Bernhardt, who I did not even know existed until now. I also was aware of the multiple child molestation charges in the Catholic church from films such as Spotlight (2015). The statements at the end about the value of art is something that I found moving, as we were there, presently observing art in it's natural form, and it made me feel for these characters so quickly. It also made me realize the lack of care and respect that young people have now for the arts and that is incredibly depressing as well, and something I did not know about coming in.

UF School of Theater + Dance, The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt. 2017, In the Loop, January 2017.

The Emotional Experience

The theater is one of the only instances in which the consumer and the provider are both in such direct and live contact. The action and every event that goes on in the stage is so real and present, that it feels as though the audience is watching the events unfold in real time. This grand illusion presents the audience with a great opportunity to get lost in the story, and forgot who or where you are and be a watcher in these people's lives. Much as the actors cease being who they are, you the audience stop being who you are and are loose of your present self or problems. This is a kathartic moment in which the individual can purge themselves from their present time and be transported to this new place and one with these new people who we feel a deep connection to.
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Daniela Lopez

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