The Spatial Experience
The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt was my first experience in Constans Theatre. I was pleasantly surprised as I walked into a very professionally designed theatre. It was dimly lit, accompanied by many comfortable red upholstered chairs, and a well-made playset. I sat on the right side of the theatre next to the wall. In most scenarios this would be a negative, but the stage was designed to extend out on the sides closer to the audience. This design helped me feel closer to the story, and was a great way to engage the entire audience. The audience filled about 60% of the theatre which was a great audience for a Thursday night showing. As the lights dimmed and the audience grew quiet I became anxious to see what the play would be like since I've rarely attended plays. I think the low lighting helped me focus on the play itself rather than focusing on the audience members. In the same way, I think our environment can enhance our good life even when we're surrounded by negative influences. If you're in a new or exciting environment it can distract your focus from other influences while you focus on the beauty of that environment.
The Social Experience
Thankfully I was able to attend the performance with my roommate who happens to be my bestfriend. It was interesting going with him because he is a lot more interested in plays than myself so his excitement enabled me to have a much more open mind going into the experience. To prepare for the play we dressed up in a polo and nice pants and headed to the theatre from our dorm on our bikes. Seeing the play with him was great because we got to discuss our views on the play when we got back home. Sharing this experience with a close friend who was genuinely interested in the play helped me to enjoy the experience a lot more. Sharing experiences with close friends and classmates is personally something that brings a lot of joy to me in my life and truly does enhance the good life.
The Cultural & Intellectual Experience
After seeing the play and discussing it with my roommate I realized what a great experience we have as students at UF. Personally, I've never really been interested in plays. For me, I enjoy UF because of the athletic events and the challenging academic environment, but for other students here at UF they have different interests such as going to see a play. This experience made me appreciative of our university truly being so well-rounded and helping all students enjoy their good life.
The play opened up some interesting topics itself. Mainly it brought up the real divide between the church and the advancement of the theatrical world. As a Christian it was an interesting play to experience. I enjoyed the challenge the play introduced because it has been a true struggle in a lot of societies across the world. It shed light on hypocritical actions in the church mainly through the character of Brother Casgrain. He was condemning Sarah Bernhardt for bringing theatrical performance to his community while he himself was guilty of trying to cover up evil that had been done to Talbot. Scenarios like these help me realize all the more that we are all with fault in some way or another. This underlying confliction throughout the play caused me to evaluate what standards I hold up to others without holding myself accountable to those same standards.
The Emotional Experience
I most closely related to the character known as Michaud. At the beginning of the play Michaud is greatly devoted to the seminary and never suspects any evil from its' authority. Throughout the play Michaud becomes more and more knowledgeable of the attempts from Brother Casgrain to quiet Talbot from revealing the truth about why he left his previous school. Ultimately, Michaud left the seminary in disbelief over this instance. To me, Michaud's character helped me question what things are right and wrong in my life that I've justified and overlooked. As he grew more knowledgeable of the situation he became more compassionate and empathetic for Talbot. It got me questioning if I truly empathize with others struggles as Michaud did at the end of the play or am I more focused on my own self-interests as he was at the beginning of the performance?
Source for Intro Photo
BOUCHARD, Michel M. La Divine Illusion. Digital image. Theatre Du Nouveau Monde. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Feb. 2017.