The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt Allison Bast

The Spatial Experience: This is a photograph of me outside the Constans Theatre awaiting the production of "The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt". Before entering the auditorium I felt rushed considering it was 1:40 pm and I still only had a limited idea on where the theatre actually was. Finally, my friends and I found the theatre and scanned our Gator 1's. We were placed near the back. I felt okay about that considering we weren't early for the play or anything. Even though we were in the back, I had a very clear view of the play which was a pleasant surprise considering that that is not usually the case. When the familiar dimming of the lights came I felt dread since I knew that I was about to have to pay attention for 2+ hours. Despite my feelings, the beginning of the play picked up nicely and immediately got me interested on this poor family and other guy strangely into acting. The audience also played a part in my interest. Even though we were all "forced" to go to this play, the sheer amount of people at the theatre made it feel like it was a real play that I would've paid to see. Where you are is important to the Good Life. It is important because in order to experience happiness you need to enjoy where you are. This applies to many different situations but quite simply if you do not like the atmosphere of where you are and its aesthetics it will most definitely negatively affect your experience.
The Social Experience: This photograph is a picture of my friend from my dorm. We live in Riker 4 and have a friend group of people on our floor. Amanda (not pictured), Savannah, and myself all decided to have the same Good Life lecture together this semester. As a result of this, we all signed up for the same time for the play. To get ready for this performance, we met in our hallway and then took the journey to the theatre. We got a little lost on the way because we didn't realize that it was actually in the Reitz Union. Attending it with my friends enhanced my experience. This is because multiple times we would lean over and consult each other if we were confused by what was going on during the play. Also, I wasn't aware that I was supposed to take so many pictures but Savannah informed me as soon as we got there. Experiences like these and other shared experiences lead to a good life. Making connections with people is one of the best ways to experience happiness and not feel alone in this world. Even though the play was mandatory, it made for a memory that I could share with my friends.
The Cultural and Intellectual Experience: In this photograph, Savannah and I are holding up our programs for the play. The play we saw, "The Divine: A Play By Sarah Bernhardt", had a variety of social issues which were addressed. It took place in Canada around the early 1900s. The story dwells on the horrors of child labor, factory life, and the oppression of the Church. I knew quite a bit about the problems of industrialization and factory life from my high school years of AP European History and AP US history. Yet, I didn't know much about Church oppression and inappropriate behavior. I was quite surprised by it actually. The relationship the arch bishop had with the future priest, Talbot, was surprising. The arch bishop treated this young man very harshly even though his family was struggling through hard times just to get him through seminary. These matters do not directly coincide with my life because I was lucky enough to be born into a middle class American household. Even though this doesn't directly apply to me, I believe that it is very important to learn about events and social issues of the past. This knowledge is very important because learning about the past will help to prevent past mistakes from reoccurring into future mistakes.
The Emotional Experience: The topics presented in this play were not at all "light". They really made the audience think about the society in which we live. The fact that a priest was continuously raping a young man was a topic that theatre's present as "socially uncomfortable". People have engraved in their minds the ideas of how traditions and social institutions are supposed to be. Generally, no one would ever think of a priest raping someone because of a priest's ranking and position in the Church and society. Yet, plays like these allow us to question traditions and institutions. The plays teach show us what coming clean can do for people as well. At the end of this play, the truth is revealed to both the audience and the characters. Once the truth was revealed, I felt a sense of relief sweep through me and that everything was going to be okay now. This play gave me an opportunity to experience katharsis because I got to see from start to finish a very messed up situation be revealed and the characters who had done wrong to come clean.
Created By
Allie Bast


Photo Credits to myself and my close friend, Savannah Phillips

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