The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt Benjamin lantinberg

Spatial Experience---

The day I went to the play, it was dark and rainy out. As it was a matinee, the darker clouds set the mood for the play. The theater was newly renovated and bright, in great shape. I was seated in the front row so I immediately started to analyze the set. The arches were very detailed and stayed constant throughout the whole play, but the set itself was very inventive with beds turning over into sewing tables and machines. I was able to see the actors and actresses up close with such a prime view of the stage. Costumes were very intricate with extensive beading and sewn details. If I had not been sitting so close, I would not have been able to appreciate the well put-together production. The actors even made eye-contact at one point with me, which helped to put me in the middle of the action. I felt like I could actually relate to the play and be a part of it.

Before the play

The Social experience---

I was lucky to go to the play with two friends, which helped me feel less awkward when sitting down and waiting to enter the theater. When we arrived, I saw so many of my friends from both my class and from other campus activities. My friends made sure I was dressed appropriately for the play and had my Gator1 with me. If I had been by myself, I would have most likely forgotten to bring it and been in a predicament. Having people made me feel less awkward when taking pictures. It made me feel better sitting next to them, especially being able to ask questions about parts of the play that confused me. I did not completely understand the plot or all the scenes occurring, so having friends to bounce questions off of helped me feel better.

The Cultural Experience---

When I sat down for the play, I did not expect it to hit such major issues and tackle such controversial ideas. I had no idea what to expect in the first place, but it was nothing from what actually occured. The play tackled child labor, sexual assault in the catholic church, sexuality, and family relations. Though it was set a century ago, it still related to modern day with important lessons and historical significance. Seeing how families dealt with financial woes as well as clashing personalities spoke to the struggle of many families today. Even looking at the obsession with Sarah Bernhardt herself speaks to the modern day love of fame and fortune, with some people going to great lengths to achieve either of those. In my own life, I have always had fights and problems with my own sisters but in the end, I love them more than anything in the world, just as the sons love their mother in the play. It shows the love between siblings and parents is forever, no matter what happens.

A scene of the mother dropping her son off at the church.

Emotional Experience---

As I watched the actors cry over their search for justice, happiness and love, I could not help but feel emotional. A mother lost her son, a boy lost his brother. Seeing families go through hardships they did not deserve broke my own heart, and even drove me to almost cry at the end, though I am usually not an emotional person. As confusing as the plot had been at times, I still felt the love and power poured into the characters by the cast. Acting is not something to be taken lightly. People take on personalities styles different from their own and give it their all, which was done extremely well by the characters in this play. It definitely made me more interested in the theater in general getting to see how genuine all the cast was.

Ally, Savannah, and I after the play ended.

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