The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt Dinah Stephens

The Spatial Experience: This is a photograph of me outside of the Constans theatre. I arrived with my friends who took this photo. I had an easy time finding the theatre for I had gone to a previous play here for my Theatre Appreciation class and my roommate and I left our apartment early enough to take our time getting there. I was excited as I walked into the lobby and theatre like I always am when I am seeing a production. I really enjoy plays and movies so this was a fun way to get credit for this class. Also, the weather of the day- windy and rainy- set the perfect mood for a day in. After waiting in the lobby and scanning our Gator 1s, my friends and I made our way into the theatre where we were seated on the left side of the audience. I think this placement affected my vision of the play for my line of vision naturally drifted to Michaud, a character that was placed on the left side of the stage. I felt more connected to Michaud as the play went on, experiencing many of the same emotions as he. The size of the theatre was of adequate size. It was not too big that I felt too far from the stage and it was not too small so that I felt like I was a part of the play. I enjoyed the amount of people that were near me. However, there was a group of girls that sat in front of my friends and me and for the majority of the play they were on their phones, distracting me with the bright lights that lit their faces. One's surroundings are majorly important to the Good Life. Where you are affects the people you meet and the experiences you have and I believe that this play provided me with an atmosphere where I was able to learn and grow through art.
The Social Experience: This is a photograph of the friends I saw the play with. From left to right, there is myself, Louise, Lindsey and Lindsay. Louise and Lindsey have been my best friends for about 5 years. I met the other Lindsay this year through my sorority. Lindsey, Lindsay and I scooted to the Reitz together which was quite the journey considering it was about to storm and the winds were at a dangerously high level. Louise met us at the Reitz because she lives in Graham which is very close by. I think going to this play enhanced my experience because I was able to ask them questions whenever confused or make side comments on any thoughts I had as the play unfolded. We were also able to take pictures of each other for this project, something that might have been more difficult if I went alone. To our surprise, we also ran into two of our other friends at the end of the play as we were walking out. Shared experiences are a vital part of the Good Life. I strongly believe in the quote "You are who you surround yourself with" and so it is very important to choose your company wisely as you experience different things. I also think it was interesting to be able to listen to the actors after the performance as that is not a common thing to be able to do when one sees a play. It was interesting to hear from them on the ways the play affected them as they connected with their character.
The Cultural and Intellectual Experience: This is a picture of my friends and me in the theatre as we waited for the play to start. The play, The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt, takes place in Canada in the 1900s. It focused on the harsh reality many people faced at that time, such as child labor, factory life and the corruption of the Church. I really enjoy history so I was educated somewhat on these realities before seeing the play. However, the action that took place still affected me quite a bit. The performance was very moving and highlighted the issues in a way that opened my eyes to the emotional turmoil these times brought. Fortunately, the performance and subject matter does not have any relationship with my current life. I have been blessed to grow up in a middle class American household, where struggles like the ones in the play were not common. It is important for plays like this one to be performed as we progress into the future for it helps to educate the population and prevents these same mistakes from being made.
The Emotional Experience: This play focused on very heavy subjects. I read the brief description before going but was not prepared for the weight of the "socially uncomfortable issues" that arose in the play. During the first act, I enjoyed the light-heartedness of the characters and trying to figure out Talbot's story. I was taken aback when Act Two opened so suddenly with the emotional story of his past. The corruption of the Church really struck me and I think it being a main focus of the plot helps to criticize the status quo of society, going against any assumptions or clich├ęs that may be thought of when considering those of the church. Katharsis was a definite part of my emotional experience for I was drawn in by the disgusting reality of both the factory child labor and pious figures and desired for the truth to come out. Thanks to Michaud, the truth was exposed and it provided a sense of relief to the audience as there was finally justice for the absurd actions that took place. We see this same emotional journey in Talbot as he is hard and guarded through the majority of the play but as the performance is coming to an end, he finally gives in to his feelings and relief and embraces Michaud.



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