The Spatial Experience
The Constans Theatre in The Reitz Student Union at UF
The Constans Theatre in The Reitz Student Union at UF is a beautiful theatre. When I went to see The Divine A Play for Sarah Bernhardt this was the second time I have been in the theatre. I had a pretty good seat in the theatre. I was in the middle of the theatre not too far in the back but right in the middle of the row. The location of my seat definitely made the overall experience more enjoyable because I could see all of the action onstage. We arrived at the theatre fairly early so it wasn't for awhile that the lights dimmed and the audience quieted. When the lights finally did dim I was excited for the show to begin especially since I knew some of the cast members either from one of my classes or because they were TAs in my theatre appreciation class first semester. The size of the auditorium certainly made the experience more exciting since it is a big theatre and so many people were there since this performance was specifically for Good Life students.
The Social Experience
I attended the Good Life performance with two of my friends, Christina and Caroline. We reserved our tickets together so we could all go the same night. Before the performance we looked over the assignment for the Spark Story so we knew what to pay close attention to during the show. Attending with my friends definitely enhanced my experience because I had people to go to the performance with and to sit with. Before the performance began we looked at the playbill together so we would have a better idea of what to expect once the show began. Watching the play together definitely enhanced the experience and relates to the idea that viewing art with other people can change the experience because everyone understands art differently.
My friends Christina, Caroline and I at the Good Life Performance at the Constans Theatre
The Cultural and Intellectual Experience
The time and place of when the play took place was certainly essential to the overall themes and issues in the play since the time period was not contemporary. The play took place in Quebec City in 1905, more than 100 years ago so the world was certainly a very different place. The central issues addressed in the performance were religion, the relationship between religion and art, poverty, the division between the rich and poor, issues in the workplace and child labor laws. Overall, religion is a controversial issue in society especially today in 2017. But the idea of the influences religion has on other aspects of society such as art were also present in this performance. Another issue besides the issue of religion was how dangerous the workplace was for poor and underage workers in the early 1900s. At the time in history when the play took place child labor laws were just being passed and many young children were working in factories in dangerous conditions. The performance changed my ideas about religion and art because before seeing the performance I always thought that religion and art were very separate entities. But this performance proved otherwise, it explored the idea of how religion and art can be intertwined. The subject matter has a relation to my life in some ways in that I am an actress and have a great appreciation for theatre and other forms of art.
The Emotional Experience
The play The Divine A Play for Sarah Bernhardt, provided me with an opportunity for katharsis because certain scenes in the play were truly heartbreaking. For example, I definitely felt a katharis for the Talbot family. In the show Mrs. Talbot is forced to work in a factory under dangerous conditions under the control of an abusive boss. Since her family is so poor Mrs. Talbot's younger son Leo who is 14 is also forced to work in the factory instead of staying in school. The only hope for the Talbot's to escape poverty and live a good life is for Talbot to become a priest. The scenes in the factory are definitely the most upsetting since children are forced to work in the factories and many are injured and some even killed. The scenes with The Boss are also sad to watch since he is so cruel to the female workers and treats them like second- class citizens. It shows how extreme the difference is between the rich and poor in the world of the play. Something else that is tragic to discover in the play is that Talbot was sexually assaulted by a priest but yet he is in school to become a priest. Much of the play is about Talbot and how he comes to terms with the fact that he was a victim of a sexual assault. This shows how little opportunities the poor have in society and despite Talbot's sexual assault he has to cover up his victimization and go to school to become a priest because it is the only hope for his family.
Child workers in Quebec City in the early 1900s