The Divine Experience Soha Samla

The Spatial Experience

Upon entering the theater, I was slightly disoriented because of the massive amount of doors. However, once I was guided inside and directed toward my seat, it seemed as if the entire production was quite smooth and very well organized which made me optimistic about what was to come. Since I had a rather long bus ride, I arrived to the Constans Theater at around 7:20. Due to that, my seat was more towards the back on the right side. I really wished I was able to view the actors from a closer angle. As soon as the play began, I realized that the actors were so talented at projecting their voice and message that it did not matter where in the theater you were seated, everyone receives the same message. What I found fascinating about the concept of the play was that everyone was seeking the Good Life despite the fact that it may have seemed some had accomplished it over others.

The Social Experience

I don't have other friends taking Good Life at the same time as me, as they have already taken it last semester so I decided to enjoy the play myself and spend some alone time. I really enjoyed being there without friends because I was able to really understand what my personal opinions on it were without someone else influencing what I thought of it. At the same time however, I wish I was with someone that was able to explain the confusing parts to me because I tend to need a partner that is more intellectual than I am.

The Cultural and Intellectual Experience

This play had an interesting take on society and our daily activities that we have stopped thinking about in the same level of depth that only art can remind us of. Sarah and Michaud had a serious thirst for the art of theater and found the lives of those in poverty entertaining and unrelatable enough to create a show out of it. We often fail to see the reality in the class differences and often enough, just as Talbot and his family had acted, they tried to escape the fact that they were stuck in an endless cycle of being poor and unfortunate futures. The vast difference between the classes is astonishing but what struck me the most was the way they still got along. In the play, the Talbot's were not treated as lesser by anyone except the boss of the shoe factory. Regardless of that, they were making a mockery, profit, and fame out of the lives of others without providing any compensation or credit. This is almost how nowadays, when tragedy strikes in a part of the world, we send our prayers via Facebook and use the event to prove a point rather than actually help victims.

The Emotional Experience

Similar to what I stated previously, we only like to see worldly problems from the outside and acknowledge them lightly. Sarah Bernhardt was simply fascinated by and appreciative of those in the lower class when it would help her fame and public image. It provided an objective perspective on the social issue at hand. This aspect and perspective was enhanced greatly. What is best about this play is that the audience is part of the mockery. While it is easy to focus on the plot as a viewer, the play is about a play which always involves an audience. The audience was doing whatever they could to access tickets to the play initially because having the ability to attend is a symbol of wealth. They were trying to prove themselves to society and the play and talk back set as a reminder that you cannot abandon values and the important aspects in life such as spending your money to help improve your own community rather than waste it. I wish every attendee stayed for the Talk Back because they discussed the underlying details and moments where there was subtle foreshadowing and the depth behind those scenes. For example, the purpose behind Leo's character. He was a prime example in the theme of the play itself. He was disregarded in the presence of Sarah.

Credits:

Created with images by AndyRobertsPhotos - "Theatre" • darkday. - "Lost Under Cobwebs" • leeleblanc - "UF Libraries Visit" • kelseyannvere - "alley path city"

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