My first trip to the Constans Theater was a success! I got to see the play "The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt" by Michel Marc Bouchard. The play was about two young men- students of the Grand Seminary- who must deliver a letter to the infamous actress Sarah Bernhardt in 1905 Quebec City. Many uncomfortable and serious topics were brought to light in this skillfully crafted work.
The Spatial Experience
I was lucky to get one of the best seats in the whole theater! My friend and I arrived a bit early and walked in at just the right time to get a nice view of the stage and a spot in an "aisle" of the theater. In the beginning and throughout the show the actors walked right in front us! Overall the layout of the auditorium did a good job of contributing to the show. I felt the size of the theater was ideal- small enough to be intimate but also large enough to experience the "grandeur" of the play and the occasion.
Taking a selfie with my roommate Lyndsay at the theater
The Social Experience
I attended this play with my roommate Lyndsay. We walked over to the theater together and sat next to each other during the play. It was nice having a familiar face there as there were many students I did not know. Sharing this experience with a friend gave us another opportunity to bond. Although I did not interact with everyone there, nevertheless I felt that the entire theater bonded as a part of the Class of 2020 all coming together in one place. I was thankful to have such an experience as it is usually quite easy to feel small in such a large campus like UF.
Taking a picture outside of Constans Theater
The Cultural and Intellectual Experience
While I am fortunate to not have to experience many of the problems that were exposed in the play , that is not to say that the problems have been completely eradicated. Today's society in fact still struggles with poverty, oppression, power, the truth, feminism, and other themes of the play. Many of these same issues are still yet to be fully addressed by society. The performance inspired me to think more critically of the social and political issues of the modern time.
The Emotional Experience
The Divine provides us an opportunity for katharsis in the sense that it exposed a lot of corruption that we would have otherwise overlooked. The play puts the audience in a very uncomfortable position when it is revealed in a twist that the "special treatment" Talbot was getting was actually sexual assault. Conflicts with the church and religion are especially difficult topics to address, however necessary. Additionally we also see the exploitation of the women and the children in the factories. The workers' demands for better working conditions are met with threats of replacing them with machines. The cycle of poverty is tough to escape and in Talbot's efforts to rise out of the system the corruption of the wealthy and of the authority is inevitable. It's only by exposing and understanding the "ugliness" of this system and society that we can begin to make changes and come clean.
Written permission from Lyndsay Powers for images used in this SparkStory