The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt Isabella DeMino

Demino, Isabella. The Reitz Union. 2017. JPEG.

The Spatial Experience

DeMino, Isabella. Me at the Constans Theatre. 2017. JPEG.

The Constans Theatre sits directly within the Reitz Union at the University of Florida. The area is very open and creates a very social space. However, upon entering the Constans Theatre the setting instantly becomes more intimate. My seat was located on the far right wall and thus my view was partially obstructed during parts of the play. I could also see motion in the wings during some scenes and my seat was located almost on the stage. The fact that my seat was level with the edge of the stage made the characters seem more reachable and more relatable. The position in which your "seat" (socioeconomic class, popularity, etc.) is located in life can impact the good life you seek. If your seat is at the bottom, the middle can appear to be the greatest good life that you could possibly achieve. On the other hand, if your seat is near the top it is not all that uncommon to desire a life with less and closer to the middle. The position from which you view your own life greatly affects the good life you desire.

The Social Experience

DeMino, Isabella. [From left to right] Isabella, Grace, Regan, Caitlin, and Meghan at the Constans Theatre. 2017. JPEG.

I attended the play with a group of my sorority sisters. None of us really prepared for the play as we had no prior knowledge of the topic. We did however, speculate on the theme of the play while walking to the theatre. Attending the play with my friends helped me find where I was going and we were able to sit together which eased any anxiety one may have in a social situation like that. During the intermission we were able to discuss parts of the play that we were unsure about and again speculated what the next part would be about. I thoroughly enjoyed attending the play with my friends. I believe it is important to have social situations like this because it creates a shared experience which your relationships can build upon. This deepening of relationships creates a support system to fall back on if your search for the good life goes awry. This is encouraging to individuals and fosters exploration outside of one's comfort zone. Often one may never find a hobby or activity that contributes greatly to their overall value and good life if they never venture out of their safe-zone. Having a safety net of friends to fall back on if something doesn't quite go as planned is a positive feedback loop as it will deepen the relationship allowing for more exploration and so on.

The Cultural and Intellectual Experience

Women working at machines, beaming and inspecting yarn, American Woolen Company, Boston. ca. 1912. Image. The Library of Congress, <>. Accessed February 2017.

The play takes place in early twentieth century Quebec. This was a time of expanding industry and widening gap in socioeconomic classes. I would say as a whole I was relatively well educated on socioeconomic classes before the play however my knowledge was not narrowed on this time period and region. The play contrasted with my knowledge showed that the experiences for the lower class during this time were relatively universal-horrid. Many in the poorer classes were taken advantage of simply because they had no options to get out. The play addressed not only the poor socioeconomic class but also the moral compromises people made even in "higher positions". Even those that were generally considered to be "morally perfect" took advantage of people in lower positions. The play did not change my view on the subjects in any way but did deepen my drive to combat them. As a woman, I often feel taken advantage of by men. I feel they do this simply because they want to assert their dominance and believe I am inferior to them. This is in no way on the same caliber as the issues that arose in the play but I still related to it personally.

The Emotional Experience

DeMino, Isabella. The Divine Playbill. 2017. JPEG.

This play gives the audience the ability to open up to its poor treatment of the lower socioeconomic classes. It also allows us to examine our own privilege and compare it to others around us. We each need to recognize the personal battles each one of us are facing and how it may affect our journeys through our lives. Our personal battles in no way justify inhumane or mean actions towards anyone but it is important for others to recognize the issues they may be stemming from. This allows us as a society to be more open and understanding to everyone. But it is imperative that the entire society does this collectively. If only a minority of society approaches life this way, they will become doormats on which everyone else walks on and takes advantage of. If this was to be brought to light in any other way than theatre, it would come off as attacking. This would do the complete opposite of its intended purpose; create backlash and hate instead of reflection and acceptance. There can be no growth if their is no recognition of an issue.

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Isabella DeMino

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