As an avidly involved member of theatre my whole life, I have always enjoyed going to see shows, especially in new places. However, since I have had some classes in the McGuire Theatre Pavilion, I always pass through the Constans Theatre and therefore did not receive that same rush of excitement that I normally do when I walk in about to see a show. The fact that the Contans Theatre doesn't have is own entrance, but rather enter through the Reitz, ruins some of the dramatic effect. Once you get inside the actual theatre though, all that disappears.
My seat was about midway back on house right and gave me a fairly clear view of the stage. I think seat position is important for your enjoyment and can vary among shows. For straight plays, (plays without any songs) I think it is more important to be closer because they don't have the same 'flashiness' that musicals do. It is normally more important to be closer so that you can see their facial expressions, but since Sara Bernhardt was such an eccentric and 'over-acting' character, it didn't matter as much.
Luckily the seats were comfortable, which ended up being a very important aspect considering that the play was so long!
Picture taken and used with permission of those in it.
The Social Experience
I had the opportunity to go with Matt, Noah and Courtney from my Good Life discussion class along with two of Courtney's other friends. I believe that this definitely added to the experience. It is always fun to go with people you know especially when you are all there for the same reason. It was nice to be able to discuss our thoughts on the play during intermission and after the show. Also, the fact that we all sat through the very long performance connected us through this shared experience!
The Cultural and Intellectual Experience
I did not know very much about Sara Bernhardt whatsoever other than the name ringing a bell. The time and setting of Canada in the early 1900s along with the seminary subject matter of the play did not give me a real connection to the performance. The issues of child labor and sexual abuse brought the darker light to the performance. I think the sexual abuse is something that can be the most related to our lives, especially as college students. In society today we deal with cases of sexual abuse from people in authority as well. However, rather than a priest, present trends lend to professors and educators as abusing their authority positions.
image from: http://www.michelmarcbouchard.com/pieces-68.html and is not of the UF performance
The Emotional Experience
I think "The Divine: A Play for Sara Bernhardt" allows us to have Katharsis by 'coming clean' about child labor and sexual abuse. More so to come clean about child labor being something of America's past, even though this play is set in Canada. Also it relates us to the fact that today we still try to find the "best deals" for our clothes and shoes but we don't often think about how they are made. In the United States there are much higher quality standards and laws about child labor and labor in general. But that it not often the same for the countries where our iphones, shoes, and school supplies are made. I believe this is what this show makes us think about. What is our Good Life costing others?