The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt Paul Zielinski

A short story of my experience at the Constans Theatre

Spatial Experience

The Constans Theatre

The physical setting of a play can be drastically important and a vital part of the experience of going to a play. I know from the many theaters in which I have watched plays that this is to be so. I have gone to plays in California, Italy, South Carolina, Virginia Beach and Germany. Each theatre presents a new type of feeling whether it be mystique, awe or inspiration. When I walked into the Constans Theatre, I was initially underwhelmed because it did not seem to be too different from the rest of the Reitz Union. Fortunately, it was a pleasant surprise to find out that the inside of the theatre was simple and quaint. For me, it was an enjoyable change to the extravagant theaters which I have been inside. The atmosphere was pleasing to me because it was similar to the feeling I get right before a football or any sports game. The air was charged with electricity and I could feel a bit of excitement. I got there a little bit late because of a mandatory study hall, so unfortunately for me, I got a seat in the back of the theatre. Although it was not the best seat, I was thankful for getting a seat in the back. It enabled me to analyze the play from an outsider perspective as opposed to being in the front of the theatre in which case I would feel as though I were in the play. I know this because I changed seats in the second half. From there I was easily able to experience the play as if I were in the actual event. Prior to the dimming of the lights, I was a little bit anxious and very much intrigued as to what would happen. As the play began and the lights were turned down low I felt an excitement which I knew was exclusive to plays, movies and the like. This proves to me that "place" can make a big difference in the Good Life, as perspectives are often directed (or potentially misguided) by location.

After the play with Kindle and Nick, two of my best friends (written consent obtained)

The Social Experience

I attended this play with two of my friends, Kindle and Nick. We did not really know too much about each other, nor did we hang out very often until this semester. It was fairly quickly that we realized we all had similar interests, opinions and beliefs which transitioned into us hanging out together more and more frequently. In order to get ready for the play, I took a shower, put on some fresh clothes and other toiletry items. I did not realize that I would not have any time between my study hall and the actual play, so I did not have as nice of a shirt on as I might have liked. This helped me to remember that one of the nicest parts of attending a social event such as a play is getting to dress up. Anyways, attending with my friends was really nice for me because I got to converse with them. We debated several moral and theme-related questions about the play and continued these conversations until we got back to the dorm. It never ceases to amaze me how wonderful it truly is to have others to share an experience with.

Constans Theatre "School"

The Cultural and Intellectual Experience

The play took place in Quebec City, Canada in 1905. I appreciate that in the theatre, controversial and gut-wrenching topics can be covered without too much scandal. It is a laboratory in which we can perform social experiments. For example, in this play there was a series of homophobic rapes in order to keep a family fed. This begs many moral questions to be asked. To what means are we willing to go to in order to provide for our friends and family? Is there ever a time in which it is better to not tell authorities and try to fix some moral problem? The play made me reaffirm my ideas that morality will always trump any other thing in this world with regard to making the right decision. This subject matter thankfully does not pertain whatsoever to anything in my life but it does make me consider and become more aware of the types of problems that have and continue to exist in our world.

The Emotional Experience

The play evoked many emotions

There were several points about morality and conscience made in this play. It was an amazing opportunity for one to come clean with them selves. It brings up the realization that what might seem to be alright at the time is never ok if it compromises integrity. In this case, a man is faced with the decision to either tell the proper authorities what is going on and risk his family losing everything they have or letting something happen tha he knows to be wrong. A point was made that we must always be mindful of the things happening in our lives and assert what is right and wrong. Additionally, the play encourages one to go forth and do right where there is scandal and wrong. It tells us that just because something is seen as normal does NOT make it right. This can be applied to modern day culture as there are things we do now as a society which are stately wrong but are considered to be normal. Due to this point, I am glad that I went and saw this play as it made me question the world around me and what is right and wrong.

Works Cited

Cui, Liuyang. "Physical Setting and Social Dynamics of Watching a Live Performance at the Constans Theatre." Adobe Slate. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Feb. 2017.

"School of Theatre and Dance." University of Florida - School of Theatre and Dance. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Feb. 2017.


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