The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt By Shivam Patel

Introduction: I attended The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt on its opening night of January 19th. It was performed in the Constans Theatre at the University of Florida in Gainesville. I arrived shortly before the play, took a couple of pictures that were required for the assignment, scanned our ID's for entrance into the theatre, and sat down in anticipation of the play. I stayed until after the talk-back was over. During the talk-back, the cast and the audience discussed questions the audience had for the cast. Some questions that were asked included how long they practiced for and which character developed the most in their eyes.

Entrance to the Constans Theatre

The Spatial Experience: As I entered the building, I did not feel any sort of emotion crawl over me. I thought this would just be another dull, sleep-inducing performance, but I was very wrong. My seat was very close to center stage. I was just offset by a couple chairs and was a couple rows from the front, maybe 1 or 2. It made the play much more enjoyable, as I could make out the expressions of their faces and the minute details of their actions better than I could have if I were further back. As the play was about to begin, everyone around me was chatting and making an absurd amount of noise. But as soon as the lights dimmed, it became so quiet that I could hear the person behind me breathing. This gave me a sense of realism, as if it felt like I was experiencing this story. Space can have a strong influence on the Good Life, as if you enjoy the space, chances are you'll feel more at home.

The tree stands by itself

The Social Experience: I went to the performance all by myself. I talked with a couple people while I was waiting to enter the theatre. I also talked to some people that were sitting by me, but I was not able to catch their names, as the show shortly began after that. I do not believe that the play would have been any better for me if I attended it with any friends.I think that shared experiences can make for better ones, but it is not a requirement for the Good Life. You can achieve this solo.

The shoe factory

The Cultural and Intellectual Experience: The play takes place in Quebec in the 1800's. The central issue addressed in the play was that of the stark contrast of the privileged and the poor. I was pretty aware of the central issue, as I visited India when I was young. I saw all the bad things that poverty did to people, as there were many homeless people in close proximity to me when I did visit India. The play informed me of the immense influence the Catholic church had over the public in those times. Religion was a very big factor in my life, as I was always forced to pray when I was younger. I eventually grew away from all religion, questioning the ideas set forth by it. Another central idea in the play was questioning the powers that be. I think that is very prevalent in today's society, especially in the U.S., because of this past years presidential election.

this picture depicts a child at work in construction

The Emotional Experience: The Divine brought forth a lot of issues in our past that probably won't be accepted in today's society. Child labor was a prevalent theme in The Divine, as Talbot's little brother was forced to work in the shoe factory so that older Talbot could go to school. Little Talbot was at the mercy of many unsafe working conditions, which eventually brought about his demise. At the beginning of the play, two little girls also got beheaded in the factory.

Created By
Shivam Patel
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Credits:

Created with images by freestock.ca ♡ dare to share beauty - "Cosmic Rose" • Gustavo Devito - "alone" • PublicDomainArchive - "child labor historic people"

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