The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt Spark Story by Jamie Alexander

Spatial Experience

Spatial Experience

When I initially entered Constans Theater, I was surprised to see that the lobby was very visually pleasing and contained a couple really interesting pieces of art, which is something I take personal Interest to. I got there early, so there was a little bit of a wait before I could enter the auditorium. When they did allow the audience in, I was ushered to a seat in the 4th row all the way to the left side. It was within near proximity of stage and allowed me to see every detail of character's costumes and the special effects, which I believe enhanced by experience greatly.

As for the Auditorium itself, it was regal and spacious and I found myself surprised at the amount of people who were fitted into the space. It definitely made me feel like I was at a very well-prepared show. The location of the play really helped me feel professional and encouraged my mindset as a respectful audience member. I appreciated the fact that others around me were respectful as well. When the play began, everyone hushed and those around me were quiet, it immediately made me interested and focused on the performance.

The role of place within the good life is initially impactful towards first impressions. The environment around me really changed my mood and drove my curiosity towards the storyline. Having been to several broadway shows in New York, I was able to compare this to the experiences I've had it the past. It really felt like a professional performance and changed my opinion of what the play was going to be like, making it seem somehow more professional.

1 &2 -Interesting statues that served as art in the Lobby of the Constans Theater.
Social Experience

Social Experience

I decided to attend "The Divine: A Play For Sarah Bernhardt" alone for a couple different reasons, one of them being that my roommate had gone home and it was too short notice to make plans with others. I got ready for the play and took a very nice stroll from my dorm to the Reitz Union. Upon arriving, I did happen to see a few friends there, which was au expected surprise! We talked and took some pictures before the show, but were seated separately.

3. The Entrance to the Constans Theatre

As for my experience with strangers, I was sat next to someone I did not know. He was very clearly too sick to be attending a performance and coughed plenty of times without covering his mouth during the length of the 2 and a half hour performance. I would be lying if I said this didn't contribute to my experience somewhat negatively, distracting me from the play. Of course, it was unpleasant, but I enjoyed the show nonetheless and tried to make acquaintance with the other people around me.

The role of shared experiences in the good life is grand and inescapable, yet it is my belief that doing things alone sometimes allows one to form their own opinion without peer pressure. If I had gone with friends and they didn't like it I may have changed my opinion. I also believe that the "shared experience" is still shared, because there were hundreds of others in the auditorium with me, and their responses of laughter and shock during the performance added to the feeling of regality.

4. Me in the Lobby
Cultural and Intellectual Experience

Cultural and Intellectual Experience

Having taken American History last semester, the industrial period setting and sacred themes of "The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt" really drew into my previous knowledge of working conditions, religion, and growing ideas of creativity during this time. I knew beforehand that factory deaths were common, which was included in the play and helped develop the performance's sense of setting.

One of the major questions I drew from the performance was: what makes something just or unjust? This question is posed by a couple different scenes, including the one where Talbot is told by Brother Casgrain that he must confess to stealing the silverware even though he didn't do it and the scene where Michaud sends the letter containing information about the priest's wrongdoings to the police despite Talbot's disapproval. Another major theme is vanity and selfishness. Vain and selfish characters include the factory owner and even sometimes Sarah herself as she craves the spotlight.

5. Although not the actor from the UF performance, Sarah Bernhardt's vain character persona can be seen in this photo.(see sources)

The different sides of religion are often criticized and debated in today's society. I am not personally religious but I am an avid documentary watcher, and I have seen several documentaries in which well-known and prestigious religious leaders of Christian, Mormon, Catholic, and many other religions have been arrested for the molestation of children. The inclusion of this theme in the play makes me wonder how long these types of things have been going on throughout history without being spoken about and furthers my passion for the fair treatment of all human beings.

Emotional Experience

Emotional Experience

"The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt" includes the theme of Karthasis several times, including Michaud doing the wright thing about reporting molestation, Michaud following his passion of theatre despite it interfering with his teachings at the Seminary, and Sarah's small monologue that art must be shared at the end of the play. In order to "come clean" or achieve karthasis with oneself about what makes one human and happy, the viewing experience of performances such as these allow us to tap into our own inner struggles and motivations. Michaud's journey to creative and moral success motivates the audience to pursue their own dreams. Sarah's headstrong passion for theatre and performance sparks notes of confidence and perseverance. The diversity and complexity of each character may influence each individual differently, but each of them provide an opportunity to compare our own lives to those of the characters in the play. It's also important to note that Sarah Bernhardt was an actual individual who acted for six decades, which makes achieving your goals appear all the more possible.

5 & 6 - Side by side comparison of an actual photograph of SarahBernhardt and the Pamphlet for the performance.

Sources of Photographs

1. My intellectual property

2. My intellectual Property

3. My intellectual property

4. My intellectual property

5. Fiona Reed, who plays the titular character, digs deep to come up with the required passion for "The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt". Digital image. Toronto Star. Toronto Star, 25 Jul. 2015. Web. 2 Feb. 2017 <https://www.thestar.com/entertainment/stage/2015/07/25/the-divine-a-play-for-sarah-bernhardt-holds-harrowing-moments-but-doesnt-quite-jell-review.html>.

6. Sarah Bernhardt - Divine Sarah. Digital Image. World of Faces. Mirfaces, 2015. <http://mirfaces.com/sarah-bernhardt-divine-sarah/>

7. Photograph of the Pamphlet published by the University of Florida

Credits:

Created with images by Pexels - "art ceiling dome" • M&R Glasgow - "red" • crystal710 - "international conference forum conference" • kaykaybarrie - "Factory Theatre" • Rain Love AMR - "Masks"

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