The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt Rebekah Long

Outside the theater as I am about to go inside.

The Spatial Experience

What were your feelings when you entered the building or the auditorium?

Upon first entering the building, I was surprised because it was so much bigger than I had thought it would be. I had never been in the Constans Theatre before so I really didn't know what to expect. I suppose I was picturing my high school auditorium, which was probably a little bit silly.

How did your seat location affect your experience?

My seat was the second seat from House Left in the second row. Basically I was sitting on the stage. At first I was a bit worried that I would hurt my neck from having to hold it up at an angle the whole time, but that ended up not being a problem. My seat was interesting because I really felt like I was in the middle of the play. There were times where the actors walked through the audience, cutting between the two sections, and because they walked behind my section I was able to be engrossed in what was happening all around me.

How did you feel when the lights dimmed and the audience quieted?

When the lights dimmed and the audience got quiet, I wasn't very excited. I'm really not one for the theatre and I wasn't pumped about a two and a half hour show.

How did the size of the auditorium contribute to your experience?

I didn't really experience the size of the entire auditorium, so my experience was different than most peoples. From the second row, the auditorium felt small and was really conducive for being an active member of the audience.

What is the role of place in the Good Life?

If I had to say what the role of place in the Good Life is, I would probably have to say that place plays as much of a role in changing our perspective as anything else does. For me, so close to the stage, it was hard for me to get bored watching the play, allowing me to really focus on the art happening in front of me. I know this isn't true for everyone, but I'm sure I had a better experience that some of the people all the way in the back row.

Me waiting alone outside the theatre because I didn't have friends to go with.

The Social Experience

With whom did you attend the performance?

I attended the play by myself. I wanted to go to the matinee performance and didn't know of anyone else that was planning on doing that.

What did you do to get ready for the performance?

To get ready for the performance, I didn't do much. I just got ready for church, and then went after church.

How did attending with friends enhance your experience?

I feel like when we are around our friends, we are sometimes pressured to act a certain way, or think a certain way about some things. I think that by attending the performance by myself, I was really able to form my own opinions about the show, without others' opinions affecting how I felt about it.

What is the role of shared experiences in the Good Life?

Shared experiences are important to the Good Life because it promotes a sense of community. When a group of people share experiences, they have something to connect to each other with, and they are able to find joy or sadness or whatever emotion is evoked in them together instead of by themselves.

Waiting to go in to take our seats.

The Cultural and Intellectual Experience

What was the central issue addressed in the performance?

Something that really stood out to me about our culture during the performance was that as a society we are pretty eager to shove any sort of embarrassment away and hide it like it never happened. This is exactly what happened with Talbot and Brother Constrain. Talbot's experiences were unpleasant for him and the seminary, so they were cast aside, and Talbot was forced to lie about what happened just to spare everyone else. Through social media in today's world, this same theme can be seen across the nation. Anything that is uncomfortable for the majority people is ignored, regardless of the emotional and physical trauma another person experiences because of it.

What did you know about the subject matter before attending the performance?

Prior to attending the performance, I knew nothing about Sarah Bernhardt, and I had no idea what the play would be about at all. I probably should have read up on it a little bit more, but alas, I did not.

How did the performance change your views about the issues described in the performance?

The performance strengthened my belief that something needs to be done about the unjust things that happen in this world. It is wrong and unfair that people have to experience things that others decide is unworthy to even talk about. This country really needs to start protecting it's own instead of pushing sexual abuse as well as any abuse to the side.

Does the subject matter have a relationship to something happening in your own life?

I don't think there are any events in the play that can be directly related to my life.

The program. I am sitting in the second row from the stage but could not take a picture of that.

The Emotional Experience

How does The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt provide us with an opportunity for katharsis?

This play gives us the opportunity to "come clean" because it presents us with uncomfortable topics. These topics force us to look at the things in our society that we are not ok with. The resolution of the issues at the end of the play, to me, felt good because everything ended up ok. However, I, along with most people around the world, know that there is not always a happy ending. I think that The Divine was an opportunity for because it gave us a solution to a problem we fced throughout the whole play, but can also be considered a call to action to stand up agains the injustice of the world.

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Rebekah Long

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