The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt By: jonathan Ruiz


Spatial Experience

Although we were not allowed to take pictures of the auditorium, the room and surroundings definitely held an effect on the audience. As we walked into the dark room, the air of the audience was calm, silent, and ready to welcome the opening act of the play. The lights were directed onto the actors and actresses throughout the play, keeping our eyes devoted to their words and drama. Sitting towards the back but in the middle of the rows allowed me to take in the full effect of the play. I saw every motion of the actors and was able to truly feel like I was a part of the play itself. Because some of the scenes were set in rooms and even a factory, the size of the auditorium allowed us to believe that we were actually in that space. Being in the right place, being able to take in every angle and action gives us the most complete perspective attainable to then look inwardly to ourselves with that similar perspective about our own lives.

Social Experience

The play was attended by an array of people from different classes to people with an interest in plays. This allowed us all the opportunity to be in a room as strangers each interpreting this story in our own way. My friend and I actually met after the play because we needed a picture with a stranger, but what was a dire need for a required photo turned into a discussion about what we each thought of the play. This then turned into a sort of group discussion around us that had its fair share of positive and negative comments, but nonetheless comments that came from actually thinking about the play and whether or not one agreed with it or not. Before making this new friend, I had attended the play with my friends Kyle and Makenzie. We thought it would be easier to get through a two and a half hour play if we stuck through it together, and yet this also turned into us diving into what we each thought about the play afterwards. Sharing experiences, ideas, and opinions also enhances one's perspective. It keeps people from being narrow minded so that when the opportunity presents itself, one can be understanding of opposing ideals and views without taking it to heart. People are different and by learning to share experiences, we can grow from each other.

Cultural and Intellectual Experience

The problem of censorship in that time period was a serious issue because it suffocated the growth of arts as an example. This makes me understand my culture a little more deeply in the fact that we have not always been so true to ourselves and others. A lot of times we say things and preach things that we believe people want to hear but in reality people want the truth, whatever it might be. I have experienced coming from private Catholic school. A lot of topics were dismissed in regards to ideas that were not accepted by the religion, but this causes one to have a skewed view on certain ideas. This is truly a play talking about honesty and truth, at least that is how I take it; you cannot suffocate truth.

Emotional Experience

The play gives us Katharsis from the beginning. Sarah Bernhardt is immediately not allowed to perform in a play because it goes against what the Church wanted people to see. By understanding that people cannot censor truth, and truth is often displayed through the arts like theatre, we can see the "coming clean" in this play also in Talbot. Even when he is given the opportunity to tell the truth about his abuse, he opts not to because he understands the consequences that will follow. He makes this sacrifice for his family. This "coming clean" during this time period would not have existed, but it gives us an example of how we are lucky to be able to tell the truth and not be faced with unfair consequences.


Created with images by kaykaybarrie - "The Elgin & Winter Garden Theatre"

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