I attended the play, The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt on Tuesday, January 24th, 2017. I went to this play for the class I am enrolled in called "What is the Good Life" and I was accompanied with five of my closest friends. In this spark story I will connect the play to four main components: 1) The Spatial Experience, 2) The Social Experience, 3) The Cultural and Intellectual Experience and lastly, 4) The Emotional Experience.
The Spatial Experience
This is the beautiful scenery I first experienced when I walked into the theatre. It immediately set the tone that I was officially in the theatre and surrounded by the arts.
I took this picture right before I collected my ticket. As soon as I saw the sign, "Box Office" I knew I was in the right area! This is my excited face!
As soon as I entered the auditorium, I began to get very excitement for what the night was going to uphold. Between passing the ballet studio on my right and walking up to the incredible artwork above, the idea of being surrounded by the arts and that I was about to watch a play began to set in. When I walked into the theatre alongside my friends, we decided to sit right in the middle. This way we were able to have the perfect view of the play from any direction. I believe we scored the best seats because we were right in the middle of the middle row. We were able to view the audience but without them being right on top of us and still within vision. The ability for me to be completely comfortable in my seats allowed me to indulge in the play even more. As the lights began to dim in the theatre, my heart started beating. I hadn't been to a theatre since my last ballet, The Nutcracker, when I was a senior in high school. The same sort of emotions aroused when the lights dimmed as I sat in the audience as when I stood behind stage as a performer. The emotions were unique though because I didn't know what I was going take away from this performance which created a sense of curiousity I anxiously was ready to fulfill! As far as the size of the theatre and audience, I was shocked. Going into this theatre I did not know if this was going to be considered a small or large production. Since I am a ballet dancer, I am used to large auditoriums where hundreds can gather, and when I walked into this smaller theatre it made me question the ability of talent this play would showcase. However, when it began clear that every single seat would be obtained I concluded the show must be worth watching which reassured my excitement. In relation to the role of place in the Good Life, I believe where you are and what you're surrounded by makes an incredible impact. The environment you are around sends off signals and allows you to begin making judgements. You must feel comfortable in your surroundings in order to truly obtain all that is being offered. If you are not fully content with your place, you cannot let loose and allow your mind and body to relax. This is crucial in obtaining the Good Life because if you are not in comfortable and happy where you are, how is one suppose to feel good about themselves?
The Social Experience
This is a picture of my friends and I took right before stepping into the theatre! Pictured left to right: Danielle Riley, Isabel Matt, Amy Cook, Ruby Knopik, and Emily Miller. Everyone gives permission for these pictures to be posted.
This is my friend Amy and I seconds after scanning our IDs to get into the theatre. We were getting excited!
Amy and I giving the play a thumbs up. We were both happily pleased we got to experience this together!
I attended the play with my sorority sisters. All six of us rode together from our sorority house, Alpha Delta Pi, and walked in together. A couple weeks before the play schedule came out, all of us were communicating to decide what night we could all go together. It was really sweet seeing how everyone came together to find a single night out of the week where everyone could attend making this experience so much more fun. I got ready for the play in my dorm because I knew I wanted to look nice. I then traveled to my sorority house where I ate dinner and met up with my friends before driving over together. Looking back, having the chance to arrive, sit and leave with my friends helped make this whole experience so much more enjoyable. It was nice having the chance to talk to my friend Danielle when I was confused during the play, laugh with everyone when the characters said a humorous remark and discuss the play as a whole when I left. I honestly could not imagine going alone. I was very blessed to have such amazing friends to experience this with! In relation to sharing experiences in the Good Life, this is something I am extremely passionate about. I believe the whole purpose for achieving the Good Life is only ever achieved through friendship. As humans, we need that emotional and physical support system. You have to have a person to seek guidance through, vent to, and laugh with. If life consisted of solely being alone it would be no life at all. A Good Life is about creating memories and moments that are shared with others. When I graduate from the University of Florida, I know that I will be able to look back and remember the time freshman year I went to a play with my friends for my class. I believe it is these kinds of memories that will last a lifetime and ultimately give me the Good Life.
The Cultural and Intellectual Experience
The play, The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt takes place in the early 1900s in Quebec. I believe the central issue addressed in this performance is the loss of identity. In the play, the character Talbot was secretly being sexually assaulted by the priest and was not discovered until later. The issue can also translate to the factors of poverty and fame because both these concepts correlate to identity. Talbot, his younger brother, and mother were all categorized under poverty while Sarah Bernhardt is known for her wealth and fame. These became the significant factors the audience associated with the characters. However, when the truth about Talbot came out, it released another side to the story and added to his identity as a person. The most important issue I captured from this play was truly the impact of identity and its role in society. It is more than our wealth that determines who we are, but what we do with our lives. Before attending the play, I had no information on the subject matter. I believe this helped my experience however because it enabled me to create my own opinions and feelings without any bias. The performance changed my opinion on the issue of identity because it helped me realize people are associated with identities a lot of times because of something beyond their control. This subject matter does correlate to something happening in my life because when I first became a student at the University of Florida I made a friendship with a girl in one of my classes. We immediately clicked and became best friends. It wasn't until the beginning of the spring semester when she told me that she was only here because of receiving enough scholarships and financial aid. It never occurred to me that this girl who expressed such high spirits and even generosity was financially struggling. I never associated the term "lower class" with her because based on her image I would have never guessed. This was surprising to me because I never once heard her complain about money or let it stop her from partaking in fun adventures. I believe as people we must never associated others with only one identity and let it solely define them. People are unique and deserve more then just a stereotype. It is up to them to decide how they wish to make up their identity.
The Emotional Experience
The play, The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt exhibits many issues and emotions throughout that help expose the audience to different situations that society faces. This play provides any opportunity for katharsis because it demonstrates real world obstacles and challenges to the audience that they may have never experienced. This play portrays the affect of sexual assault, poverty, wealth and fame in regards to its ability to impact someones life. Personally, I believe the power of coming clean allows others to push away from their past, learn from it and continue on with their life in a positive direction. This play has taught me that exposure is not always a bad remark but a way to move on. After the audience discovered Talbot's history with the priest, it made his motivations and lack of excitement about becoming a Priest begin to make sense. This play portrays the influence of exposure and transforming it into motivation to move on. Overall, this play has brought to my attention issues that society faces all the time I was just unable to fully understand or relate to. Now, it has become clear that our identity is one that we should be proud of and continue to build on. People make mistakes and judgements constantly, but when someone has the bravery to "come clean" it will result in the positive direction their life truly was waiting to seek.
This is me at the end of the play smiling, holding my pamphlet and feeling thankful I got to go with my friends!