IUF1000 The Divine: A Play For Sarah Bernhardt SparkStory By Paul Cleveland

Part 1: The spatial experience: As I entered Reitz Union and walked up the stairs to the Constans Theatre, I thought to myself, "It has been at least 10 years since I have been to a play". This thought made me realize the kind of person I am. I do not seek the best plays to watch or have much interest in the performing arts. My interests lie within the world of sports. Interestingly enough, I was not dreading the play; in fact, I was somewhat eager to witness the play. My seat location made me feel apart of the performance as well. I sat just a few feet away from the end of the stage and I felt that I could reach out and interact with the performers. All in all, I was pleased to diverge from my normal interests to explore a different environment with an open mind.

Part 2: The Social experience: I came to the performance with a good friend, Chase. However, as we took our seats, we were joined by 10 other good friends. I did not know they were attending the performance and their company allowed me to feel more comfortable during the performance. I also feel that I was not watching the play with complete strangers because everyone in the auditorium was also enrolled in IUF1000. My experience relates to the good life because when one is surrounded by good company, their life is enhanced. I felt surrounded by friends and it allowed me to enjoy the play more because I was sharing it with my buddies. In addition, the good life is not meant to be experienced alone. The good life is meant to be shared with those who care about you.

Part 3: The Cultural and Intellectual experience: I have always considered myself a man who makes life out to be too simple. More often than not, I miss or ignore the intricate details of life around me. However, from just watching the play, I am left considering the complexities of life around me. The performance allowed me to see life from a 3rd person point of view. For example, the play explores moral and ethical choices by making each character contemplate their own morals. From seeing others explore their ethics, I wanted to challenge myself and explore my own ethics. I put myself in the shoes of the characters themselves and wondered how my morals would guide me. Would I mask the poor working environment of the factory to make labor at the factory more appealing? Would I value the Church like Michaud would? By seeing the actions of the performers, I gained insight within my own life by questioning what morals I held as a man. I gained culture from attending the performance because By taking a step back and looking at the bigger picture of life, I can gain understanding of the issues concerning others in the world around me. Additionally, by having knowledge of the world around you, I believe your life is enhanced. Understanding your environment and the people/issues that interact creates more opportunities for exploration and learning. You can take part in another person's life and be apart of their journey; new worlds can be experienced and new adventures are made possible. From seeing the performance, I gained a new outlook of life; in turn, I can now benefit from the opportunities that lie in the world around me.

Part 4: The Emotional experience: The performance allowed me to achieve "Katharsis" by giving me a sense of humanity. For example, one of the motifs explored in the performance is inequality within humanity. When I noticed this theme, I applied it to my own life. I relate to Michaud in the sense that I have lived a privileged and blessed life. I do not know what it like to have economic troubles and experience below-average living conditions. And while it seems selfish, I do not concern myself with the troubles of those who are not as blessed as I am. However, after watching the play, I ask myself, "what would my life be like if I were living like a Talbot instead of a Michaud?" This helps me feel incredibly blessed and grateful for all the resources I have available to me. Furthermore, I want to change my selfish ways. Instead of solely focusing on my own problems, I want to be involved in the issues that plague those who are less fortunate. To give a real life example, when President Trump enacted his executive order against refugees from the Middle East, I was not concerned because his executive order didn't affect me. After seeing the play, I want to explore this issue more closely and find out how I can play a role in ending the oppression of minorities. Simply put, watching the performance gave me a sense of self and allowed me to view life from a 3rd person point of view. From this, I am more aware of the issues of my fellow man and have more interest in finding solutions to these issues.

The Talk Back: After the performance was over, the audience had the chance to interact with the performers. Some questions that were asked by my fellow audience members included: "What preparation was required to fulfill your role in the play". For each character, the preparation was different. Each performer had to adapt to a new persona and with each and every rehearsal, each performer adopted the life of their character. In addition, we discussed how the change of scenery at the end of the play affected the performance. It was interesting to hear the perspectives of the performers on the scenery and how it affected their performance.

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