The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhart by: Taylor Johnson

The Spacial Experience

When I first entered the building, I felt a little out of place. I have never attended a play before, so this experience was new to me. When we arrived, there were people everywhere to direct us around the theater. From swiping our Gator1 cards to showing us to our seats, the people working at the theater were well organized and helpful. When the lights went down, the audience silenced, and you could feel the anticipation in the room, as we all waited for the play to start. Because we arrived right before it started, we were seated in the back left corner. This took away from the experience because instead of only focusing on the stage, I could also see the entire audience. Every time someone would pull out a phone or talk to their neighbor, it took away from what was happening on the stage. The size of the auditorium contributed positively to my experience because I could still fully see what was going on, even from the back of the room.

The Social Experience

I attended The Divine with my friend Meredith. I threw on a sweatshirt and we both scooted to the performance together. Going to the play with a friend made the play more enjoyable, and was a positive factor in my experience. Being able to share the same experience with a friend helps build the foundation of a friendship. Shared experiences are things you can look back on and cherish. Because of this, I believe a large part of the Good Life is sharing adventures and life with others.

The Cultural and Intellectual Experience

The central issue in the performance was that the archbishop didn’t believe Sarah’s role in a play was appropriate for the Catholic Church. He then sent two boys to stop her from performing her role. Before the play, I knew that The Divine was about conflict with the Church. Other than that, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I didn’t have a lot of prior knowledge of the play, and it enhanced my experience because I was open minded to what was going to happen in each scene. The performance opened my eyes to how prevalent issues such as poverty, gender roles, and corruption in the church. Many of the characters were forced to be someone they were not, and cover up incidences in order to fit into the social mold that they made for themselves. This general theme is something I see in my own life and the lives of others daily.

The Emotional Experience

In this play, many character wrestle with many different struggles in their individual lives. You can see the difference between social classes and the hardships it is for the people in poverty working in factories. This is just one example of many that is a topic that is “socially uncomfortable” for an audience to watch. By watching other people cope with these struggles and become true to his or herself in the process, it provides us with the opportunity to mirror these characters in our own lives. Coming face to face with issues in our lives that we find challenging is our opportunity for katharsis. Watching others challenge social boundaries such as the ways of the church and the oppression towards women in The Divine, we are able to watch this and model their actions in our modern life.

Created By
Taylor Johnson


Created with images by andreas160578 - "church interior inside" • Unsplash - "bible book cover leather texture" • Goat_Girl - "Archbishop"

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