The Divine: A Play For Sarah Bernhardt Amanda Nuccitelli

The Spatial Experience

As I walked into the Reitz Union I thought to myself I have never been to the Constans Theater before and had no idea what to expect. My family is really into plays and broadway shows. Every year on Christmas my grandma will tell us what play she was taking us to this year. This made me so excited, because of how much I love plays and was able to see one performed on my own campus. I was really interested to see how the play was going to turn out. In elementary and middle school the plays were always mediocre, but I was blown away by my high schools performance last year, so that made me think if high schoolers were capable of that what could college students put together? After waiting on line and swiping my Gator ID I walked into the theater. I felt as though I was entering a huge event, something that people wait years for, similar to a graduation. The theater was just the right size. As if every seat allowed you to still get the full experience. I happened to sit towards the front I think personally enhancing my experience. I was able to see the facial expressions on all the actors and actresses faces. The stage had multiple microphones lined up to allow multiple speakers to act at a time, and I think it added a very dramatic feeling to the play because the actors weren't directly looking at each other when speaking, rather they were looking at the audience. It made me feel like I was a part of the play, and the next line should come from my mouth. One thing that took me by surprised was how organized the theatre was as a whole. How they directed you to a seat, how the lights were always on the actors and how the changing of scenes ran so smoothly. My seating helped me stay focused at the play. They were so close to the stage it was impossible to get distracted. As the lights dimmed, I sat in my seat anxiously awaiting for what was going to be my first college play. The second the play the started I knew I was going to enjoy it. I loved looking around at certain parts in the play to see other peoples reactions. I think a huge part of Good Life is taking in every moment of your surroundings because they play a huge part of your experience as a whole. The perfect atmosphere can really enhance your experience in anything you do.

The Social Experience

I attended the performance with one of my friends in my sorority. When preparing for the event, we made sure our outfits were appropriate for the scene, and we were comfortable with what we were wearing. We also made sure that we wouldn't be hungry and didn't need to get up to use the restroom until intermission. Attending with my friends enhanced the performance greatly because not only could we discuss it afterwards and talk about what we liked and what we didn't like, but during the play I was able to glance over at them and see how they reacted to each scene. The role of shared experiences in the good life is that we are able to speak to others we know about events or issues that are familiar, or not familiar to us. When you know people already, sharing different experiences with them allows you to get to know them even better, and get different perspectives on things that you do or see with them.

The Cultural and Intellectual Experience

Coming into to the play I had very little knowledge on what it was going to be about. I read the background on canvas because my TA told my class that she recommends doing that before actually going to see the play. I figured Sarah would be the main role in the play based on the title. It took place in the 19th century, 1905, in Quebec City. The main problem in the play was how Sarah Bernhardt, an actress, was the star of a play that exemplified adultery, but the character mocked the church not making the archbishop too pleased. Once he found out about this he had two seminarians deliver a letter to Sarah saying that she wasn't allowed to perform the play. The two seminarians were very different. One was named Talbot and wasn't very wealthy. Half of his family worked in a shoe factory and never had any interest in theatre, but Michaud, the second seminarian, loved theatre. Michaud's family on the other hand was very wealthy. Michaud was so upset about the archbishop calling off the play that he decided to write his own script and had Sarah play in it. This coming together between the rich and poor to fulfill the same goals was amazing to me. There were also contradictions in religion and theatre ideas. We experience this in our lives everyday. Not too long ago there was a perfect example of this on our own campus. A man one day decided to stand in the middle of Turlington standing strong supporting Hitler. He wore a jacket with a big swastika on it. I personally am not jewish, but I saw the way my friends who are were reacting to this. They had great grandparents who were holocaust survivors and had to go through all those awful things this man was supporting. This caused protests and seeing all the people come together from all different beliefs to stand up to this one guy was eye opening.

The Emotional Experience

Seeing a play opposed to a movie leaves you with a different emotional experience. Many plays have underlying plots and themes going on throughout them. Things you wouldn't pick up in a movie. I think the play The Divine gave the audience a perspective on the conflicts people have regarding wealth, religion and spirit. The play displayed this by using characters from all different social classes. It reminds people to not judge someone right off the bat and that everyone has something, so be understanding to everyones views. Michaud and Talbots relationship showed that perfectly. In the beginning Michaud felt he had the superiority over Talbot because he was much more wealthy, but soon realized that he actually really respected him and his ability to play write. The play opened my eyes on different religions and beliefs. This allows me to go through life experiences differently now.

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Amanda Nuccitelli

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