The Divine Play for Sarah Bernhardt By Heather tomazin

Spacial Experience

As i entered the illustrious Constans Theatre at the Wayne J. Reitz student union, I experienced a sense of theatrical overload. The spacious and abstract nature of the art in the Constans lobby coincide with the abstract nature of the theatrical performances that are shown there. Fortunately, I was one of the first students to enter the theatre and was privileged to sit in the first row. As the lights dimmed and the performance started, I was a little overwhelmed by the strength of the acoustics because of my seating. I was so close to the actors/actresses that I felt like it was a personal showing that was just for me. I was not only to hear the emotion but feel the emotion because I was so close. My space in the theatre definitely impacted my perception of the performance. I think that the role of place in the good life is important. In life, sometimes our living situation and company that surrounds us can inhibit us from obtaining certain goals, however, this is only true to a certain extent. Many people think that by upgrading their personal spaces like their homes, cars, and even closets will make them truly happy. This is a dangerous misconception. Changing our space will never improve the posture and state of our hearts. Only inward growth, transformation, and healing can do that.

Social Experience

I attended the performance with a friend, Brandon, from my dorm floor because I was able to drive both of us. Although I feel like we took individual things away from the play, I think it was important for me to hear his perspective of the performance afterward and for me to interject my own perspective into our conversation. This is how we as humans learn from each other. Attending the performance with a friend definitely improved my experience because I was able to share it with someone. I think being in community with people is imperative to the good life. In my opinion, we weren't meant to walk this earth alone. We were made for fellowship. We were made to commune with people who can share in our struggles and difficulties.

Cultural and Intellectual Experience

For someone who is a follower of Jesus, I was somewhat disheartened by the candor in which the play essentially mocks the Christian faith. I absolutely agree that humans are corrupt beings, especially Christians (as we are humans too). The Catholic church has seen times of extreme hypocrisy with people of power committing various, extremely awful atrocities, as depicted by the story of the sexual violation/abuse in the performance. I do not support, defend, or condone this behavior in any way. Although this is a very real problem within the Catholic church, all I could think about the entire performance was how hundreds of students are being deceived to think this is the only aspect of the church... that it only brings bad, detestable corruption. This does not reflect the love of Jesus. Jesus wanted to love, respect and protect the purity of all people, which is obviously the exact opposite of what this play revealed about the human nature. I wish students knew that the church isn't a museum for the holy or self-righteous, but a hospital for the broken. I felt really disappointed and brokenhearted after leaving the performance, knowing that all of the students previous feelings about how corrupt organized religion is, especially Christianity, was confirmed. At the end, Madame Bernhardt went in to this overdone soliloquy about how the theatre is the answer to the worlds problems and how it should be the place where morals, and essentially the good life, are decided and expressed.

Emotional Experience

"The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt" provides the perfect opportunity to experience catharsis. Although I had previous knowledge of the horrific scandals associated with the priesthood of the Catholic church, this performance truly forced me to come to terms with them, as aforementioned in the previous section. The theatre forces us to address certain aspects of life that we sometimes sweep under the rug. This performance projects a broad spectrum of emotions and human experiences. Many of the emotions in The Divine stem from our corrupt and sinful nature (greed, lust, pride, hate, vanity, etc.). The Divine allows us to identify with these not so noble traits on an impersonal and personal level, which in turn truly convicts us.

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