The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt by: Rachel Wechsler

Inside View of the Constans Theatre

The Spatial Experience: When I woke up on the morning of the play, I was extremely excited. I had never been to the Constans Theatre before, and did not realize how close it was to my dorm. I walked there in the rain with a bunch of my friends. When we first arrived, we waited on a line to show our Gator ID's, which were scanned to give us entry to the play. We were then handed this playbill, and led to our seats in the theatre. Before going to the theatre that day, I had read the brief summary that we received about the play, yet I still had no idea what to expect. I sat with a group of my friends on the left side, where we had a great view of the stage. When the lights went dim, the actors and actresses were very close to us, walking through the aisle and on the side stage right in front of our faces. This brought me back to the days when I used to go to New York City and see shows on Broadway such as Legally Blonde and Wicked with my family. I really enjoyed experiences like that, and sitting in this theatre with actors and actresses so close to me reminded me of those times. I think that the Constans theatre was the perfect place for this play to take place because it was a convenient size and convenient location for the type of play that it was. I believe that experiencing things in different environments is part of achieving the good life, because if it was not for this assignment, I most likely never would have entered the Constans Theatre. I am glad that I came to this environment and think that each new destination is part of the journey of life.

Carly, Blake and I outside of the Constans Theatre

The Social Experience: I went to the play with a few of my closest friends that are also enrolled in IUF1000 this semester. I think that going with my friends was very beneficial for my overall experience that day. The ushers that led us into the theatre sat us down, and I was positioned between a bunch of my friends. Going to the play with them was helpful because when I was confused about something that was occurring, or just simply wanted to laugh, they were there to help me out and laugh along with me. I feel that if I attended the play alone, I would have had trouble understanding the play completely and would not have gotten as much out of the play, so I am thankful that I went with my friends to help me get more out of this experience. I was comfortable turning to them when I got confused about something, never leaving me uninformed. I think that attending this event with friends helped me in my understanding of how to achieve the good life. I think that sharing experiences with people who are close to you is significant because it helps create deeper bonds and I will forever have the memories of attending this play with my friends.

Blake, Carly and I waiting in line to enter the theatre

Cultural and Intellectual Experience: All that I knew going into the play was what the brief summary had said. I was excited to see what the actors and actresses had to offer. The play takes place in the early 1900s in Quebec City. The central idea of the play focuses on Sarah Bernhardt, the main character, who was going to participate in a play that "sings the praises of adulterous love" and "ridicules a man of the cloth," according to the summary. All of the characters within this play are forced to make choices that go against their personal views and make sacrifices for others. Having taken a lot of social studies classes during high school, I have past knowledge about the events of the 20th century-the time period in which the play took place. Besides the summary, the only thing that I knew to expect was about the history aspect of the play. Seeing the way that the actors interacted with each other gave me a much deeper insight on how people behaved in this time period and how they solved their issues-which are different than what we see nowadays. Things have changed a lot since the 20th century, but there are also some similar aspects, such as Talbot taking classes just like we do today. Although that focused more on religion, it is a similarity between the time periods. Sarah Bernhardt challenges the city when she does what is considered to be adulterous, but she continues to do it. This ties in with the good life because we see the idea of challenging ideas and making decisions that I know will continue to affect me throughout my life. Sometimes I have to do what is best for me rather than what others want, but all in all I make decisions and take actions after careful thought and consideration, and I feel that that is very significant in achieving a "good life."

Carly and I posing with our play bills after the performance ended

Emotional Experience: I feel that almost all theatrical performances are performed to create some sort of emotional appeal. This play consisted of people from a lot of different social classes, which automatically sets up for an emotional story. As stated in the summary of the play, "the stage is set for a clash between Religion and Theatre as the young men are forever changed on their path to the discovery of truth and justice." At the end of the day, every character was forced to live with the truth and the results of their actions throughout the play. Katharsis exists within this play, because the characters were forced to come clean and admit to all of their wrongdoings. This is a Greek concept which is very common within a lot of theatrical performances, which helps contribute to the emotional factors of the play. The characters of the play come from different social classes, such as Michaud possessing more money than Talbot, whose family has to work in very harsh working conditions. We learn that Michaud does not actually think he is way better than Talbot, but it is just the personality that he possesses and we learn that when they all come clean. This year I made a New Year's Resolution to be less judgmental of others, and have been working on that since. I think that this is important because judging people is very hurtful and should not be done unless you know exactly what they are going through, because you never really understand someone's life unless you are in their shoes. This is an extremely important factor in achieving the good life, yet I think it is the most important out of all of the ones that I discussed. Emotions are a huge part of life an without them, we would not have any personality. No one is emotionless, some people just share their emotions way less than others, and that is okay, but we should be accepting of everyone.

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