Theatre and the Good Life Alysia Amato

The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt

The Spatial Experience

Entering the Constans Theatre and the building itself, I wasn't able to grasp exactly how I felt. I think I felt indifferent. It didn't feel like I was going to the theatre. I think this is because of my expectations of a theatre. I have been to several different theatre's before, one being the Fox Theatre in St. Louis, and it was just a different atmosphere. The Fox was beautiful and decadent. The ceilings had intricute designs making it feel like a palace. Going into the Constans, it felt very compact and plain. On the contrary, the closeness to the stage and the dimming of the lights allowed for a more personal connection to the performance.

The Social Experience

I attended The Divine with a friend. She's the one in the picture with me. Usually I would dress really fancy to a theatre performance. However, as one could see I didn't this time. I think the feeling of getting dressed up for the theatre helps to contribute to the overall feeling of going to see a performance. It makes it meaningful and important. Further, by going with someone, I was able to share my experiences with them. We both read the play bill before hand and discussed some of the issues that would arise during the performance. Being able to discuss the play with someone else allows knowledge and understanding.

Cultural and Intellectual Experience

The Divine touches upon issues during the industrial revolution that are still somewhat relevant to us today. The play makes us question what is right and wrong. The two main conflicts in the play are that of religion and theatre. Sarah Bernhardt helps to bring out the two conflicts in hopes to make us realize issues against morality. She is the mediator between the extremes and allows us to question where the balance is. She also expresses how theatre allows people to understand social problems in ways that are socially acceptable and light, sometimes to our subconscious. In the plot, almost every character faces a moral dilemma that changes their lives. For example, Mrs. Talbot wants what is best for her children, which ultimately leads to Leo's death. Further, the factory owner illuminates the fact that consumers are blind to the realities because of their desires, for example a pretty girl wanting some pretty shoes. Michaud wants to embrace his love for theatre and create a piece to show social injustice. However, he feels uncomfortable sharing such personal experiences even if they will bring about change. From the play the audience is able to be more mindful of the world around them. Like Sarah said, it has the ability to bring social change.

The Emotional Experience

Theatre allows the audience to enjoy an entertaining live experience and take home a message from the play through different uses of imagery, diction, setting, or emotions. The ambiguity of the message allows us to make our own thoughts about the meaning of a piece. The Divine touches upon moral issues relevant to us today such as consumerism, social class, social change, art and its impact, and the harder right than the easier wrong. It is a socially acceptable way to express touchy subjects and allows us to connect and further discuss issues with our peers. Theatre is drama and drama is supposed to flesh out emotion.

Created By
Alysia Amato


All photos taken by Alysia Amato

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