The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt By: Caleb Baum

The Spatial Experience

As I walked to the Student Union I was filled with a sense of uncertainty. There was much I did not know going into this play that was unexpected. The only knowledge I had going into this play was the packet that is on the common activity page. However, I did not know if I would like it. It was out of my comfort zone of genres I normally watch. When I got, there were already a large amount of people in the lobby who were there for the play as well. When the theater doors open people started pouring in. The seat I got thought was prime to me because it was in the dead center of the theater. I feel like the view was great because I watch from a comfortable angle the whole play and I could see everyone on stage. When the lights dimmed, I was excited that my uncertainty was going to end soon and that this play was going to start soon. The size of the auditorium helped add importance to the showing to me. Every seat was full in front of me and it added in its importance to me. I felt that I need to pat more attention to the play because there was so many people where as if it was empty I probably wold have been distracted by how empty it is and would not have cared as much.

The role of place in the good life is essential. For the good life to be good you need to be comfortable in your surroundings and enjoy were you are. If you are experiencing any less, then this then you are cheating yourself. I feel like being some place that makes a person uneasy or makes them feel unwanted then they are not achieving their good life.

The Social Experience

I wanted to attended the play with friends but the friends I asked to attend with me all reserved their tickets for different dates. I was disappointed by this but looked on the bright side that no one would distract me during the play by trying to talk to me. To prepare for the play, I woke up the morning of play and read the packet of canvas. It helped me know the major ideas to look for and background on the characters. I was still wondering if I would enjoy the production since it was not anything I would watch by choice. I enjoyed the performance overall and felt that I did get a lot out of it but I still felt that if I saw it with friends it would have been more enriching. After the play, I would try to talk about it with my friends who are not in the class but everyone either did not care or did not appreciate it as much as I did.

This made me realize the importance of shared experience in the Good Life. It was miserable trying to talk to people and them not understanding or not caring. Sharing memories in life in undervalued and me memories are great but sharing memories with people is more fulfilling. If you’re always alone then you’ll never have bonds with people that will help you in the down times of the good life. Sharing memories helps you cherish them more often later down the road.

The Cultural and Intellectual Experience

The play enabled to develop a better understanding of social oppression, privilege, and hypocrisy in our society. These aspects have carried on from well before the turn of the 20th century into present day. Previously I was knowledgeable that the gap between the rich and the poor had been greater in history than it is today. In addition, we see many examples of hypocrisy going on in the play that correlate to today’s society. Through the play, I realized that even though our gap between the poor and the rich may be decreasing a large amount of hypocrisy is present and is the primary reason for the gap. In the play, we see the play write Michaud go through the transition of a pompous used to be rich kid to a seminarian. When he meets Talbot, he is fantasized with his story of poverty. Talbot knows that it is nothing to be proud of or boast about but Michaud insist on knowing as much as possible for a play he decides to write. Throughout the whole play, Michaud is the example of an arrogant privilege man who comes to realize the hardships of the poor is sometimes out of their control. Michaud transition help reconstruct my views on the division between the privilege and the social oppressed. It taught me that people who have never been exposed to poverty or seen economic hardship do not understand the struggle. This relates to my financial status in college. The only reason that I am attending this the University of Florida is because I received a good amount of finical aid money. I worked hard to get my scholarships like bright futures but I also received my funds because of my family’s economic status. All my friends banter me at times that “I am lucky I got what so much aid” but I worked hard for it and still work hard for it. I have a job and work around 40 hours a week and my parents, recently divorced, have three other kids at home, one of whom has epilepsy. I am not inferring my friends are privilege or that they have it easy but, I got that amount of aid because I have certain circumstances that they do not and will not understand till they step inside my shoes, like how Michaud did not understand Talbot till he saw what he has been through.

The Emotional Experience

The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt provided us with a fantastic opportunity for Katharsis. The play touched on the issues of hypocrisies, social oppression, and poverty. I feel that today these are key issues that we should all find within in ourselves and come clean on whether we have been in the right. In today’s ever-changing society we can see that hypocrisies are a huge problem. The most obvious example is the in politics. Many people believe that it is one way or the other pro-life or pro-choice, mental health evaluations for people that buy guns or background checks, tax the middle class, or tax the rich. We are a society that is divided on numerous topics. However, we criticize the other for not coming to s middle ground when we ourselves are not willing to either. Sometimes we need to stop being so hypocritical of each other and our beliefs and try to just come up to a fair middle ground in the interest for the greater good. The next issue is social oppression. Social oppression is not major as it once was but it is still present in society. Many people feel that they’re better because they have certain luxuries that others cannot afford. People that are not able to have all the trends that are in season and adolescents feel this the most. Just cause the shoes they wear or the shape their backpack is in can lead to them being the targets of being bullied. Even if we keep the criticism to ourselves we are allowing social oppression to spread. We should not judge people base on their belongings and make assumptions. We do not live in these situations or understand what they are going through. We should understand other people are not as fortunate as we are and try to be more understanding and compassionate about that aspect. The last aspect is poverty and that we need to stop assuming people did this to themselves and sometimes it is out of their control Talbot’s mom did the best she could to provide for her children and give them the opportunity for a better life. However, people judged her and made her feel awful that she was that poor. We should learn from this and try to more understanding. I know during this play I was critical of some of my actions in the past and I know I will try to better myself.

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