To be honest, I have never been to an auditorium to watch any theater before. I went to auditorium many times but they are only for concerts. I have dreamed that I would seat in a theater to appreciate and enjoy a professional drama someday. Then it just happened. The Good Life class gave me this opportunity. At that evening, after I took some pictures for my friends and for myself, I walked into the Constans Theatre and I was shocked by the scene of the background of the drama. The general background was dim but lights illuminated the performance props like beds and windows. Especially for the middle window which is like a flower, the colorized lights made it very conspicuous. I was sitting on the side of the auditorium. It probably was not a good location to enjoy and to immerse in the play like the seat in the middle, but after the lights dimmed and the audience quieted, I still felt excited and even a little bit of nervous for my first-time experience. The size of the whole room was not pretty big, but the organization was very well, which made me feel comfortable to enjoy the play. Auditorium, theater, they are the places where express the spirit and meaning of art to me. They can improve the quality of my life and also give me the knowledge and sometimes even impetus to comprehend daily life. Like what Anthony Vitello Jr posts on NYTHEATREGUIDE, “The message is pure and simple, let the arts breathe and watch your country exhale.”
I felt really happy for so many friends getting together to watch the play. We seated in the same row and talked about our expectations for the show to each other. Before I went to the Constans Theatre, I carefully read the Divine Study Guide posted by instructor online to prevent misunderstanding the meaning and substance of the play because I could not make sure I would totally understand the theme and everything which exhibited to me as a foreign language play. I tried to understand the background of the story and information for each character. Also, I tried to explore the connection between the story and moral, ethical subjects with the plots. One of the best things I enjoyed and happy with is attending this play with my friends. It just likes watching a movie or reading the same book with a couple of my friends. Before the show began, we discussed our individual expectations for the play. During the intermission, we talked about everyone’s points toward each background setting and character’s personality. After the play was over, we talked and exchanged our thoughts to each other in order to understand the show deeper than we did before. Sharing different experiences to friends enrich daily life and a person’s thought. Like what George Bernard Shaw's said: “If you have an apple and I have an apple, and we exchange apples, we both still only have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea, and we exchange ideas, we each now have two ideas.”
Cultural and Intellectual Experience
The background of the story happened in Quebec City, 1905. It was still a period full of traditional and feudalistic ideas, social oppression, children labors, factories, women workers. The performance shows different aspects of the truth of that society. For example, everyone disguised themselves to another person and lived in that world. Like the oppression from the Boss to Leo and Mrs.Talbot with her colleagues in the factory pressures them working in such dangerous place and gaining appreciable wage. However, because of worried about losing her only job, Mrs.Talbot had not ever challenged or remonstrated to the Boss. Also, the play showed the real features of that society in Quebec City via the seminarian Michaud. Michaud was born in a rich family and his initial idea of his script was to describe rich life. He had never realized the tragedies of the real world after he visited the factory where Mrs.Talbot worked at. I did not know a lot of background information about the connection between church and seminarians and how can I related them to the theme before I read the study guide. As an international student, I think what I understand is the change of the society, the power related with The Catholic Church and the city, the social phenomenon produced by the Industrial Revolution. The performance used various of scenes and comedy elements to show the most real story to me. I think sometimes they are also like the unprivileged people living in my country. They are also oppressed and the story happened on them are similar to what showed in this performance.
The performance — The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt brought us an objective perspective and let us appreciate the whole play as onlookers to think about the issues. For me, coming clean is like understanding everything and awakening. The performance lets me get closer to understand the culture, art, politics, society, and humanity. It’s more like a process of self-examination. Like getting into another world, I learned and realized a lot of new experience and knowledge of politics, religious, culture from the play. From what I learned, I also start to think about the elements filling in my daily life, to think about what makes my life meaning and happy each day. I think, for me, this is so-called Katharsis meaning to me.
The person who left me the deepest impression during the talk back is the role-player of Sarah Bernhardt —— Christie Robinson. As an actor who plays this role, Sarah Bernhardt, she has already been studied Sarah for almost two years just for showing a perfect role as Sarah as possible as she can. I began to understand that playing another person the first thing you need to do is to be him/her. That’s what I got from the talk back.
"University of Florida theater". dsd3rmhotmx78.cloudfront.net/get/e133b0062fe91c72d7524002ee514792eb71e1d111b61744_640.jpg?permalink=1. Accessed Feb 6th, 2017.
"University of Florida". farm9.staticflickr.com/8305/7752688144_ac5fbbf32c_n.jpg. Accessed Feb 6th, 2017.