My Experiance at The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt By Abby wahlen

My version of an exciting Saturday night is not usually going to the theatre. In fact pretty much every play that I have attended I have not enjoyed. So upon entering the Constans theatre you could say I was less then excited. But alas I endured this two and a half hour play about the hardships and suffering of humans. Once I got to the theatre there was a long line of other IUF1000 students waiting to enter and watch “The Divine” Many of my other friends where in this line as well, because I knew that I was not the only one being forced to come to his event. I will emit thought at the end of the play I was pleasantly surprised. I did not expect the play to be so well acted I also did not expect the material to be what it was. I was presently surprised.

I did not know that there such a big theatre in the University of Florida. I honestly was not excited to go to this play. I had an exam coming up that I needed to study for and I did not realize that this play would be an intense play that depicted the depravity that many people went through during the Industrial Revolution. So upon entering the play I wasn’t expecting much. Once I entered the theatre I was quickly shuffled onto a seat and told to be quite because the play was about to start. I was seated about half way between the stage and the back of the room of to the right a little bit. Looking around the auditorium I was surprised as to how large it was. I was expecting to attend a smaller and quainter theatre. The theatre ended up being about a medium size and much or elegant. The props for the theatre where also quite high quality and elaborate. They consisted of moving ceiling to beds that flipped into sewing machines.

Many people love the theatre. Heart and soul, it is their favorite pass time but, I happen to not be one of these people. Of course I will mind and I was surprise and to depth of the play. This place the theatre contributed to the Good Life for many people. For some it embodies exactly what they see the good life to be. They find their good life through the arts. I do not and still do not find the theatre enriching even after attending this play. I find the good life through other mediums like nature, science and music. But I cannot disavow theatre because it is adored by others. It represents a love in the world that many cannot live without.

I attended this play with one of my best friends who is also in IUF. She was able to keep a much more open mind then I was but this seems to always be the case between us. We had been studying at the library and ran to her dorm to change into more appropriate clothing. From there we journeyed to the theatre. Which was a journey in and of its self because I tend to lose my way but I also not like to be led by others so I usually get everyone lost too. But thankfully I was able to find others who were going to the play. Attending with friends allowed be to not feel lonely in this experience because we were all being forced to go to the same play. Many left though half way through. I personally find that act to be insulting to the people who are preforming because they put their heart and soul into the theatre I appreciate this so I stayed for the whole play. And after the intermission the play picked up and was much more intense.

I was able to notice how much so of my peers love the theatre because they gave a standing ovation and had actually questions to as after the play. My only question was, how much longer are you going to make me stay here for? After leaving the play I could tell that the others who stayed where delighted by the performance. This proved to me that what others see as the Good Life is different then was I see as it. I would prefer to read a book about a certain time period then watch a play about but my peers differ from me. The theatre is important to many people good life. This shared experience enhanced my understanding of the good life.

The play covered many bare issues that people see in the world. Oppression and abuse where evident in this play. An abused and poor family fighting to raise their status but also just trying to put food on the table. A rich man trying to reach his dream and trying to understand the poor and what make them still fight for more. A mother who wants her family to have worth and pride be inadvertently sacrificing a great deal to achieve this. This play decried the hardships and down falls of being human and of the development of the world. Some will do anything for power, others will do anything to protect the ones they love.

Before attending this performance I knew that the play was called The Divine and that’s it. I had no idea what it was about and I didn’t care much to find out. The play did not change any view I had. I already had an understanding of the industrial revolution and what it consisted of. I also know of how the church has been abused by bad people. So this play just played upon events and conditions that I already knew about. The reason I am at school at the moment is because I do not wish to do hard labor and I love learning. Its plays upon the relationship I have with educating and my gratitude for having the life I have and the opportunities I have.

The Divine touches issues that people do not want to touch. Life the negative aspects of the church and industry. That bad things do in fact happen to good people for no apparent reason. Katharsis means come clean. But to come clean you may have to shed light on some very dark things and it is not a pleasant experience. Because to truly come clean you have to dig dirt that you do not want to see. Theatre and this play specifically are outlets to do this. Through theatre it is possible to shed light on harsh issue and to do it in a light manner that people are able to easily digest. This play upon the darkest parts of society but does it in a way that does not threaten the audience. It is a tragedy at the end and brings issues to the table that many people wish to ignore. But now people are unable to ignore said issue. It forces people too shine light into the dark and see the things they need to stop ignoring.

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Abby Wahlen

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