The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt A Good life performance

The Spatial Experience: Though some dreaded the idea of going to the theater, I, on the other hand, was absolutely ecstatic to go. Growing up, I frequently visited the theater. I was a performer, audience member, and stage crew member. When I found out about the opportunity to see a play at the University of Florida's Constans Theatre, I could not explain to anyone how happy I was to be in a theater again. Ever since I started college, I have not set foot into a theater until that night. As I approached the building, the sun began to set and the lights were glowing from the theater. Once I entered the doors, my heart started leaping. I was in the place that I felt most comfortable. It was safe to say that I was the only student who was genuinely looking forward to the play. I heard many remarks from students about how they dreaded their attendance. However, I did not let their comments taint my mood. After getting my gator card scanned, the cast member forgot to hand me a playbill/program. I believe that it is not a full theater experience unless I get a program. When I asked the cast member for a playbill, I received a confused look. It was as if no one has ever voluntarily asked for a playbill. After receiving my program, I was assigned to sit on the left house wing. It was not my ideal seat but I preferred the wing over the pit. I usually prefer to be center so I do not have to move my head/neck as much. Once I sat down, I looked around at the size of the auditorium. I have performed in auditoriums as large as the Hard Rock Cafe and seen live performances in theaters as grand as the Gershwin Theatre in New York City. Seeing the size of the Constans Theatre was a shock to me at first but I liked it. The size of the auditorium made the connection between the performers and audience more intimate and personal. I think it was important for the location to be small because the intimate connection allowed audience members to feel more involved with the story. This contributes to the good life because the audience feels a sense of belonging and value.
The Social Experience: I attended this performance by myself. All of my friends that I have made at the University of Florida took the course last semester therefore I went alone. In preparation for the show, I made sure that I did not arrive with an empty stomach (otherwise, I would have complained in my head the entire time and I would not have been able to enjoy the show as much). I had dinner with a few friends prior to the show. Although none of them were allowed to come to the play, I wish they could have. I have seen performances in New York City (broadway) alone before but I have never felt as lonely as I did for this performance. It may have been due to the fact that I knew my friends were minutes away instead of states away. I think that going to a show without any friends hinders the experience. The idea of sharing an experience with someone makes it all the more enjoyable. With friends, you both can always look back on what happened and compare how two different perspectives interpreted the same scene. Shared experiences plays a large role in the good life because when different perspectives are expressed about the same experience, it can alter one's values and thoughts.
The Cultural and Intellectual Experience: The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt takes place in Quebec City at the turn of the 20th century. The play presents many themes that include poverty versus capitalism, freedom versus servitude, social oppression versus privilege, the significance of culture and the arts, and the abuse of power. Prior to the play, I was well-informed about the significance of culture and the arts and the abuse of power. I would not say that the play has changed or altered my perspective but it has expanded my views on poverty versus capitalism and freedom versus servitude. I never really considered if we truly do have free will especially in terms of religion. I also never thought about if religion can excuse vile acts if the vile act is intended to teach a lesson.
The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt presents katharsis by exposing the topics that are 'socially uncomfortable and religious irreverent' (Pagan). Mrs. Talbot's character presents the issue of women's rights and fair pay. . Leo's character represents the exploitation of children and the injustice impoverished members of society must face. The factory owner/boss reminds us of the moral neglect that exists due to consumerism and how easily one can become caught in the illusion of materialism. Michaud and Talbot's characters make the audience question the moral and ethical obligations one has. By presenting these characters and exposing political and social issues, the audience undergoes the process of 'becoming clean' in that the audience begins to think about the injustice seen in the real world. The audience questions what they can do to change these injustices by evaluating their own personal values and actions.
Created By
Dieu Tran

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