My Experience - The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt Christopher Hundley

The Spacial Experience: This play was the first I've been to at UF. Walking into Reitz Union I saw my fellow classmates ready to experience art. I was excited to be there; I love theatre! When I entered the Constans Theatre I was impressed by how nice it was. The theatre was clean, modern, and spacious. The size of the auditorium definitely made the play feel very classy and genuine. It didn't feel like I was in just any theatre. I was in a professional-level theatre with serious actors and actresses. I was sitting on the far left side moderately close to the stage. My seating location allowed me to see and hear the entire play very clearly. When the play began everyone quickly became silent. I quickly tried to figure out exactly what was going on in the storyline. I was intrigued!

Right before going into the Constans Theatre

The Social Experience: I attended the performance by myself but I did make a few friends while entering the theatre. Later on I saw a few people I knew. Frankly, I think it was for the best that I didn't go with people I knew because they would have been potential distractions. Going by myself was very nice. I focused all my attention on the play and I feel like I truly got something out of it. In general, being around a large group of people (even though I didn't know them) definitely enhanced my experience because it made the play feel more real. Many members of the audience reacted in similar ways and this sort of affirmed that I had understood the scene or line correctly. Sharing experiences helps us bond with other individuals because it serves as a way of directly empathizing with them. Bonding with others is a huge part of the good life. I believe humans have an innate desire to know and to be known by others on a deep level.

Inside the lobby of the Constans Theatre

The Cultural and Intellectual Experience: The play was interesting for a lot of reasons. In particular, it gave a nice contrast of culture. The setting of the play was the early 1900s in Quebec City. Central issues included socio-economic disparity, rights of the working class, and religion. It's no coincidence that these issues are still very prevalent in today's society. Even though we've come a long ways it is interesting to see that the same problems persist through different settings and cultures. Before attending the performance I knew it was going to be a play discussing theatre which is inherently interesting since it's self-reflective. I knew the time period was over 100 years ago. I definitely think the play opened my eyes to be understanding of people who are in different socio-econonic situations than I am in. The issues portrayed in the play are talked about every day on the news. The play served as a more powerful, captivating way to experience intellectual self-reflection. Actions are controlled by thoughts; I don't think anyone can see that play without it impacting how they think at least a little bit.

In the lobby of the Constans Theatre after the play ended

The Emotional Experience: "The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt" certainly challenges the status quo. Talbot and Sarah come from quite opposite backgrounds yet work extremely well together. The play has many messages but one that most might not discuss is the message of tolerance and understanding. Humans should be on the same team; discrepancies and disparities need to be thrown away to find peace amongst different types of people. The play shows this can happen. It opens our eyes to our own issues within. We are born with egos. We often forget how big of an impact our ego has on certain decisions we make. Just as Talbot and Sarah expose each other's egos, so the play exposes our own egos. This is how the play can help us find katharsis. It acts as a mirror for us to reflect upon our own issues, issues that some of the characters in the play also struggle with. The play was emotionally captivating and helped me self-reflect on my own ego and judgements of others. Staying after the play for the talk back helped me get a better understanding of the setting of the story and what that time period was actually like. They also discussed a little bit of the class disparity portrayed in the film. The actors and actresses did a wonderful job and the fact that they had a true understanding of the story helped legitimize the play.

My friend, John, and I posing together after the play ended

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