The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt By Lauren Koeppel

The Spatial Experience

Entering the auditorium I was rather impressed with the size of Constans Theater. The stage was rather large but whole theater was still small enough to for it to be an intimate experience. When I had previously been theaters it has been a much larger venue so it was a unique experience to have the grandeur of the stage while still being really close no matter where you chose to sit in the audience. I chose to sit in the middle of the left side of the audience because it was best way to see the stage without craning my neck to much. In addition to being in a comfortable spot I was able to see and hear all the actor very clearly and see the details in their costumes.

The Social Experience

I went to see The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt with my roommate in order to get some bonding time as we don't normally see each other because of our schedules. Going to the play definitely added to my experience because after we were able to discuss the themes and plot of the play. Neither of us had known anything about play before seeing it so it was interesting to compare each other's interpretations of the play. In addition to watching it with my roommate I had happened to sit in the row in front of whole microeconomics study group and sat next to the waitress I always have at Steak n' Shake, reminding me how small of a world UF can be.

The Cultural and Intellectual Experience

Despite the play being set in the very early 1900s it included a variety of issues that are still relevant in today's world. There was the obvious issue of child labor in the play but it took it step further and reminded people that despite their knowledge of child labor they are still inherently supporting the industry by wearing the clothes. During the Talk Back the actors discussed there own take on the play and a very interesting remark was "every bad guy sees himself as a hero" which I thought applied to most characters within the play and is an interesting way to think about people with different motive than yourself. The main struggle in the play was each character had a different goal that each could not accomplish without diminishing the goals of another character. I also appreciated the irony in the play where Sarah Bernhardt speaks about how plays about poverty are rising in popularity where The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt is exactly that-a commentary on the consequences of poverty.

Photo Credit: Sarah Cordier

The Emotional Experience

Before I entered the play I was in a rather light-hearted mood because I was doing the Good life photo shoot with my roommate but once we entered the theater we both transitioned into a calmer and more pensive state. The emotional climax of the play was when Talbot's younger brother died under the floor of the factory. His death became a symbol of the lives taken by child labor. He died while the adults were discussing whether or not child labor is morally acceptable reminding the audience that the time discussing issues is also the time that could be spent saving lives.

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