The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt Isabella Chiodini

Before the show.
The Spatial Experience:

Before I actually entered the theatre, I thought it was going to be more of a blackbox style because it was within the Reitz Union. However, to my surprise, it was extremely spacious. I was seated on one of the sides of the theatre facing stage right. At first I thought this would prevent me from enjoying the show, little did I know that the actors would be walking through the audience. As the lights dimmed I was eager to know what would happen next because I have a love for the theatre. My location turned out to be advantageous, I enjoyed the interaction of the actors with the audience and I also could view what was happening on stage relatively well. Due to how close I was to the stage, I felt as if I was able to immerse myself in the world the actors were in and maintain the suspension of disbelief.

The Program
The Cultural and Intellectual Experience:

I did not have much previous knowledge on what this play would be about before I attended. Based on the title, I just assumed the play would relate to the subject of religion. After I saw the show I realized that there were many more themes embedded within the plot. Many of the themes conveyed were extremely relevant to what is happening in the world today. A major theme discussed throughout the play is the oppression of the individual by authority. The characters are uncertain of their futures and the traveling theatre brought to them by Sarah Bernhardt makes them reconsider their condition. I believe this is relevant to what is occurring in the world today. The theatre can be a voice for the masses by bringing light to controversial subjects.

Sarah Bernhardt
The Emotional Experience:

I do believe that The Divine provides the opportunity for catharsis. Throughout the show I observed the emotional climbs the characters had to face, along with their many adversities. I found myself compelled by each of their stories. The Divine emphasizes the emotional path to a good life in many ways. Sarah Bernhardt herself feels as if she is not fulfilling her true purpose. The Talbots are trying to better their lives, their path to what they consider to be the good life is through Joseph becoming a priest. Michaud is attempting to pursue his dreams. In talking about controversial topics such as sexual abuse, the characters themselves differentiate the aspects of life that are good from the aspects of life that are bad. The original perceptions of the good life the characters had changed throughout the play, similarly to how our perceptions of the good life change throughout our lives.

Surprise encounter.
The Social Experience:

At first I thought I would be attending the show alone, but when I arrived I saw a familiar face. I sat with Megan and her roommate for the entirety of the play, and afterwards Megan and I agreed that it was an enjoyable experience. We discussed how the themes of the play were relevant to what is happening in the world today. We also agreed that we would try to see more plays like this one. I am glad we ran into each other because it added another perspective into my own perspective. Sometimes that is beneficial when we are trying to attain the good life, when we share experiences we can exchange personal viewpoints and hopefully gain something from those exchanges, I certainly did.

Created By
Isabella Chiodini


Created with images by Renaud Camus - "Le Jour ni l'Heure 8156 : portrait, 1876, dét., de Sarah Bernhardt, 1844-1923, par Georges Clairin, 1845-1920, Paris, musée du Petit Palais, dimanche 11 mars 2012, 16:47:23" • juliejordanscott - "Sarah Bernhardt full length contrast edits"

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