The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt TRacy LIN

The Spatial Experience

credits to Becca Matson

The production, The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt, was hosted at the Constans Theater located near the Reitz Union. To my surprise, the Constans Theater was located relatively close to the Reitz Union, practically sprouting from the same building structure. Entering the lobby from the outside entrance, we are greeted by a swarm of people, persumably other fellow good life students, enthusiastic theatergoers, and moody children. While waiting for the performance to begin, we enjoyed and captured the beauty of the artistic sculptures hanging from the ceiling and paintings that was installed along the walls. As we entered the theater, the first thing that struck us was the professional appearance of the stage and the props. As Art major students, we really appreciated the Gothic appearance behind the stain glassed window and the delicate intricacy paid to the props. Also to note, I was extremely surprised and amazed by the multi functionality of the props, especially the beds which turned into sewing stations in the next scene. Overall, the technical aspect of the production was amazing and very professional. The audience and seats that mirrored the stage was relatively small compared to the other theaters I've visited. However, that does not deter from the performance itself. Instead I feel that the small magnitude creates an atmosphere of intimacy and comfort between each individual and the actors, especially during the "talk back." The seating we choose was along the middle back section of the theater, more towards the right of the stage. Overall, I feel that our seating was mediocre. We were able to see everything on stage and was close enough to hear the actors. However, I wished that we sat closer to the front walkway to take part in the interactive experience as Sarah Bernhardt walked through the audience. As the stage dimmed, a feeling of anticipation and excitement of finally getting the assignment over with overwhelmed me.

The Social Experience

credits and written consent given by Joseph Lam and Becca Matson

I attended the production with my friends, Becca Matson, Joseph Lam, and Micaela Ragasa. This was a new opportunity for us to experience a cultural performance together. We shared the experience with strangers that were just as enthusiastic about the show as we were. As we waited for the lights to dim, we interacted with the audience members that surrounded us. We discussed about the production, good life classes, etc. Socially, the play provided us a common ground to share our interest, thoughts, and experiences. It allowed people of different background and interest share a universal language that night.

The Cultural & Intellectual experience

The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt follows the story line of a young seminarian, Michaud, who discovers the reality of truth and the injustice in society. Through this performance, I was introduced to a new way of perceiving out society. One particular quote that stood out to me was "Men exploit men. Men exploit women and children. We just pretend we don't see." This phrase opened my eyes to the injustice in society no matter the situation. Authority will always suppress effort and free will. During the scene in which Leo died, I was all of a sudden struck by the harsh reality in our society. The social injustice and the ability of society to just turn a blind eye to such injustice. This plays gives me a less than optimistic, but more realistic idea of what our world today is like.

The Emotional Experience

Emotionally, this show definitely made me rethink my beliefs and in a way shattered how innocently I perceived the world. It left me sitting on the edge of my seat, anticipating the next word. It caused me tears when I realize the death of Leo. It left me in shock when Talbot let his temptation overwhelm him. The performance became very heavy, especially after intermission in which the plot started to pick up. The Divine exposes the scandalous truth in religion, corporate, politics, and other parts of society that are not usually spoke in the open. The performance opens our eyes to reality and the "less than noble" qualities we each possess. The ending of the performance also encourages us to fight for what we believe and to reach for the source that empowers us. Overall the production was very successfully carried out as it engaged and empowered the audience.


credits to Becca Matson and Joseph Lam

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