Presentation By:Eric Jacobowitz

Spatial Experience

The first thing that struck me about the auditorium was its size. It was a moderately large auditorium, with plenty of seats, a large stage and two exits in front of the stage. My seat was located very close to the right exit, which gave me a very close look at Sara Bernhardt and the reporters during the play, when they used it to get closer to the audience. So my seat location allowed me to get more engrossed in the play, and really get into the plot and the actors. Additionally, when the lights dimmed I got excited. This was the first time I've ever attended live theatre and I was very excited to experience it for the first time.

The size of the auditorium contributed to my experience by providing a vast array of space for the play to take place in. The stage was massive, and the seating allowed for entrance into the audience by the actors during the play. Thus the overall size of the audience contributed to the depth and setting of the play. Finally, space and place play huge roles in the good life. The good life, no matter what your definition of it is, takes place somewhere. And in my opinion to really achieve the good life one has to live in a space that is conducive to living the type of life that they want to live. Or in other words you have to live in a place that allows you to live your good life.

And now onto my Social Experience:

I attended the play with my roomate Mark, along with hundreds of other strangers.

We got ready by waking up and eating some oatmeal and walking over to the theatre.

Attending the play with a friend allowed me to discuss the play and its meaning at intermission, and it added a level of comfort and made the experience more of a social experience than a school project.

Shared experiences among friends are essential to the good life. People are happiest among friends, and shared experiences provide a sense of unity and closeness and help develop relationships. Relationships are essential to the good life because people find happiness with other people. I know that my good life includes spending a life with my closest friends and family. Shared experiences ultimately help make these relationships that much more special and close.

Now on to the Cultural and Intellectual Experience

Our culture is built on the idea of capitalism, the idea that every person has an equal opportunity to succeed and essentially that if you're poor it is you're own fault. This play, taking place right at the brink of the industrial revolution in the early 20th century, points out that this idea is wrong. Families are torn apart by capitalism, children unfairly killed in industrial accidents, and people forced to undergo unspeakable things. This play also points out the hypocrisy of the catholic church and the absurdness of censorship. The play focuses around Talbot's abuse at the hands of a priest for years, the church's attempt to cover it up, Talbot's attempt to move past it, and the church's attempt to censor Sarah Bernhardt. It points out the ridiculousness of the idea that the church would rather cover up a rape by a priest rather than punish the priest. The very idea is absurd. It also seeks to point to the theatre and the arts as a means of escape.

The only way that Talbot finds relief, is through his friend Michaud's attempt to recreate Talbot's grief and suffering in a play. Ultimately, the play attempts to right society's wrongs, and expose the Church's wrongdoings. Prior to attending this play I knew very little of either of these subject matters. I'd seen Spotlight in theaters, a movie that exposed the Church's covering up of rapes, and I'd heard about the 20th century working conditions, but I never understood the magnitude of the effects these institutions had on individual people's live until I experienced the play.

This play exposed further the realities of what capitalism means for the poor, and it truly exposed the hypocrisy of the Catholic Church in relation to covering things up and censoring the arts. In my own life, however, the only relationship it has is that it has changed my views about capitalism slightly, and it has made me more open to the idea of social welfare and its need in our society.

Finally, the Emotional Experience:

Katharsis, or the process of coming clean in greek, plays a significant role in this play, and in the effect the play has on other people.

Katharsis is what made the priest that abused Talbot come clean. He felt guilty about what he had done and he had to come clean because the guilt must have been eating him up on the inside. And, this play also provides us a way to experience Katharsis. It can provide us a reason to examine our societies, our religious institutions, and our lives by providing us with the image of the atrocities that took place. The Catholic Church's cover ups, and censorship can encourage us to examine the modern day catholic church, or our government, or even our beliefs. The atrocities of the factories, can encourage us to examine our labor laws, and our welfare systems and ask ourselves is this right? Ultimately, this play encourage us to be introspective and really examine our lives and try to find what the good life is to us, and how we can make our lives, and our society, and our world a better place.

Ultimately, I really enjoyed this play. It gave me a look at live theatre, allowed me to learn about society in the 20th century, and it was a very entertaining and meaningful experience.


  • "The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt." UF Arts and Sciences. University, n.d. Web. 2 Feb. 2017.
  • Foresight. Foresight, n.d. Web. 4 Feb. 2017.
  • Pepsi. "Products." Products | Quaker, n.d. Web. 06 Feb. 2017.
  • "University of Florida Foundation." University of Florida Foundation. UF, n.d. Web. 06 Feb. 2017.

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Pictures of Eric Jacobowitz and Mark Rivera


Created with images by AndyRobertsPhotos - "Theatre" • GioBertPhoto - "#Dieci #factory" • Leroy_Skalstad - "people peoples homeless" • dotun55 - "keeping dry"

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