The Divine- A play for Sarah Bernhardt Zola Hoehn

The spatial experience

Walking into the Constans Theatre at the University of Florida, one of the first people to walk in, was an interesting experience. When we walked in the ushers showed us to our seats since we didn't have actual tickets or seat numbers. Everything seemed dimly lit which made sense as to draw our attention to the stage which somewhat lit with the set onstage. I had been into the theatre previously so I somewhat knew what to expect but I didn't expect for the orchestra pit to be full of seats as well as the usual seating. My seat was in the very front, the second row, which gave me a closer view than some. Because I was sitting so close, I could really see and experience the show more so than if I was on the side or farther back. I could see the people changing the set between scenes and I could see more details about the actors and their costumes than others probably could. When the lights dimmed and everyone got quiet it made me more intrigued about what the play would be about and I just wanted it to start because I had been there for a while. The size of the auditorium didn't affect my experience too much but I did like how it was a smaller auditorium compared to the Phillips center. There were not many people in attendance because I went the last night and it was a smaller theater. I did feel bad for the actors during the second half of the play though because many of the people left after the first half so an already small crowd shrank in half. I think the role of place in the Good Life is that places are where we experience our lives and we create memories in different places. Because of this, each person has a place where they have found or reached their Good Life but for each person it is different.

The Social experience

Initially I was going to attend the performance with one of my friends but they were unable to come to that show so I went alone. I went to the last night of the play because all the other days I was unable to attend. To get ready for the performance I knew I needed to wear something nicer than I had during the day because we were supposed to wear nicer clothes so I changed and headed over to the theater. When I got there I was fully prepared to sit through the performance by myself but there turned out to be other people I knew. However, I didn't see them until I had already got a seat so we only sat together for the last half of the play. Attending the play by myself made me think more about what was going on because I couldn't turn to my friend and whisper to them about something that happened in front of us. For the second half, my experience was more enjoyable even though it felt like a longer half that was less interesting. I think the role of shared experiences in the Good Life is that shared experiences allow us to enjoy the moment more. Because we are sharing our experiences, we will have someone else to talk to in reminiscing and thinking about the experience that both people went through. I think also by having a friend with us it makes us more comfortable because it is someone we know and who can support us through the experience.

The Cultural and Intellectual Experience

The performance of this play helped me see a new way about poverty and the way that people outside of other cultures and classes view the other people. In this performance the central issue addresses poverty through the factory and the Talbots as well as the impact of religion and classes on the general population. Before attending the performance I knew about the history of poverty and had a general idea about it but I didn't know specifically what the play was about. The performance didn't really change my views about the issue of poverty because I knew information about it from my previous history classes and just from information I have gathered throughout my studies. The subject of this play; poverty doesn't have a relationship to something happening in my own life but I do recognize how it could be applied to other areas of my life. For example it deals with compassion and understanding the situation that others are in which I do need to understand seeing as I am in college and there are a vast array of people from different areas and aspects of life including different economic levels.

The emotional experience

I think The Divine: A play for Sarah Bernhardt provides us an opportunity for katharsis because it brings up topics that we as humans normally don't want to discuss like poverty and the differences between people. In bringing up these topics, we have to examine how we interact with poverty and how we view it and the people experiencing it. It also forces us to think about how we treated and still treat people in poverty. In the play Sarah Bernhardt and Michou treat poverty as a new found idea that is very curious and something to be studied while the Talbots are just trying to live their life and get though life in poverty. Michaud was unaware of the way the other half lived in poverty and by meeting the Talbots, he is taken out of his idealistic world and into the world of the other half. Michaud having to experience this journey also forces the audience to think about how we can be idealistic in thinking about the world that we live in.

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Zola Hoehn
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