The Divine: A Play for sarah bernhardt by travis hoffmann

The Spatial Experience- As I walked into the Constans Theater, I was filled with anxiety and curiosity because of the unfamiliar setting. I walked in with some friends I met there and proceeded into the actual theater after giving them my Gator1. I was then motioned to a seat up close to the front as if I was part of a cattle herd. Soon after, some interesting lights started falling from the front which captivated me. I was then suddenly startled as the actors burst out of a door that was right next to my seat and began the introduction to the play. Being up close to the stage positively impacted my experience at the play because of how it made me feel as if I was in the same room of the action rather than just a spectator looking through a window. This also played into the role of me experiencing the good life during this play because of how I was able to comprehend certain themes such as poverty versus privilege.
(I was given permission to use this picture which features my friend Anthony Carpin.)

The Social Experience- I attended this play with my friend, Anthony who is pictured above, and also my other friend Kerry. In addition to going to the play with them, I saw many familiar faces as well as a bunch of strangers. The mixing of faces resembled to me as to what the real life is because of how I can have friends and complete strangers in the same room at any given time. To mentally prepare myself for the play, I briefly read over the synopsis and then speculated as to what kind of twists or turns the play could potentially involve. Attending the play with friends definitely enhanced my experience because it made me feel more comfortable in an unfamiliar setting. I feel like this can be compared to the outside world when I am trying to achieve the good life because I would rather have friends that can help me get through things than to go through something blind and on my own. We were then able to reflect together on our experience at the play which further added to the overall time due to the fact that I had friends with me to talk about it.

Here I am leaving the Constans Theater after the play.

The Cultural and Intellectual Experience- The main issue that this play focused on was the difference between the impoverished and the privileged. The play showed Talbot as a person who represented poverty at the time, along with his mom and little brother. On the other hand, it had Michaud and Sarah who both had wealthier and more affluent backgrounds. Before the play, I was not familiar with the subject matter other than the idea that Sarah represented a wealthier, yet more irreverent class. After viewing the play my ideas were slightly changed due to the fact that Sarah went with Michaud's idea of the play. I thought that the characters of Mrs. Talbot and the brother did a complimentary job of portraying what the impoverished dealt with on a daily basis during the time of the play with how they lived such stressful lives constantly trying to make ends meet. It also showed how poor people's lives were that worked in factories compared to actors/actresses or people in seminary school. I think that this subject matter still plays a role in my life just in a more contemporary setting. For example, I have plenty of friends that less affluent lives than me that struggle to put food on the table for dinner.

This is a symbolic picture for the message behind the play.

The Emotional Experience- This play presents a dark shadow on the basis of Catholicism because of how Talbot is part of many scandalous occurrences. He must work to come clean and admit the many troublesome experiences he has gone through. After sleeping with a girl at the opium factory and being raped by the archbishop, Talbot lives a darker side than what most people would expect when they think of seminary school. Many ideas were presented in this play that are not exactly socially acceptable for that time or even present time which is why this play is so significant. This play helped me to understand a better path for myself on how to reach the good life and it is one that is going to involve katharsis. I now know that in order for me to experience a better life, I need to come clean with all of the things that I view as unacceptable so that I will perform to the highest of my abilities. It is also important to realize that this process of katharsis is different for every individual because it depends on a persons view and social norms. The things that I view as acceptable are different from Talbot's standards, which are also different from the next door neighbors. It all depends on your beliefs and being satisfied with your life and Talbot found this necessary to come clean so that he could live a better life.

Credits:

Created with images by kaykaybarrie - "Factory Theatre" • cocoparisienne - "weather thunderstorm cloud"

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