THE DIVINE: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt Maia whelan - IUF1000 003a - 02/06/2017

THE SPACIAL EXPERIENCE-The lobby of Constans Theater is very modern, which contrasted with the traditional style of the theater itself. It felt simple yet clean, making me feel pretty comfortable, as opposed to other theaters, which can be grandiose, ornate, and sometimes intimidating. When the lights dimmed, signaling the start of the show, I felt a sense of relief and calmness; for the next two and a half hours, I would take a break from reality and be fully immersed into the life of Sarah Bernhardt. Personally, I felt I had the best seat in the house: the middle of a row about halfway back from the stage. This allowed me to see the actors closely and get a full view of the scenes on stage. In regards to the Good Life, space plays an important role in the overall level comfort of the individual.

THE SOCIAL EXPERIENCE- I decided to attend the play with a girl who lives in my building. This made it convenient to get ready together and walk to Constans Theater. We sat next to each other during the show, which made the experience overall more enjoyable than if I had attended alone. During intermission, we discussed events in the play and took pictures of one another. I believe that shared experiences are crucial in embodying the Good Life. As humans, firstly, we are innately social beings. Secondly, it goes back to the Town Center that was discussed during one of Dr. Capaldo's lectures. Sharing experiences with others allows us to be exposed to different perspectives, form stronger bonds with people, and become more well-rounded individuals.

THE CULTURAL AND INTELLECTUAL EXPERIENCE- The Divine focuses heavily on the contrast of different cultures and upbringings. Most obvious is the discordance between Bernhardt/Theater and the archbishop/Religion, but also between Michaud, who grew up wealthy and privileged, and Talbot, who came from a family of poverty and pain. These juxtapositions still exist today, on a global level. However, having grown up in 21st century America, people tend to be more accepting of religious freedoms. In modern times, it would be unlawful to stop Bernhardt from performing. I did not grow up in a very religious household, so my knowledge on the subject is fairly limited; the play definitely showed me how important faith can be to some people and how much power it can hold, especially in the "talk back" session after the production ended.

THE EMOTIONAL EXPERIENCE- Katharsis occurs for many of the characters in the play. For example, Michaud tries to suppress his love for theater, the archbishop attempts to cover up misconducts, and Bernhardt disguises her true self for the sake of notoriety, but all are ultimately unsuccessful. For the audience, The Divine gives us an opportunity to "come clean" by acknowledging the very real conflict and controversy that can arise from religion, social class, and gender, especially in the time period of the setting of the play.

Created By
Maia Whelan
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