The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt
Just as with all forms of art, watching theatre is a cultural experience teaching you more about societies and yourself. This play was set in the 1905 and focused on controversial aspects of the time. It incorporated the concern of factory work conditions and child work laws, along with the position of the Church in social affairs. In this play we are able to see every side of the issues from different character's and experience what it was like to be set back in that time frame. Theatre runs on the audience's acceptance of being taken into the plays world and connecting to the characters. Watching this play we were able to learn more about the way the people in our society think and how we feel about the situation and character's actions.
The Spatial Experience
Initially walking into the lobby of the University of Florida's Constans Theatre, I saw the large group of students all anxiously waiting for the doors to open just as I was. I could hear whispers of curiosity and excitement. Inside the theater the crew has taken a blank stage and created another world, giving us a first row seat into it. The set allows your mind to wonder into the world of the play and get consumed by the story, forgetting the life outside the doors. My seats were in the last row of the first section, which was perfect viewing for me. I was able to be close enough to feel as part of the play rather than viewing it as a spectator, but not too close to miss out on any part of the performance. Although the size of the theatre was large and filled to capacity, once the lights dimmed it was easy to forget how many people you were surrounded with and escape into the play.
In the Good life, place obviously plays a role as does setting in everything from a play to reality, but how large of one? For me it is minor. Yes, I would rather live somewhere with safety and opportunities, over a run down neighborhood with crime, but location isn't one of my top values. As cheesy and overused as the saying is I still find it true; home is where the heart is. As long as I live in a place that contains my core values, I am living the Good Life.
The Social Experience
The Cultural and Intellectual Experience
The play was centered around two main issues in the early 1900's society, but utlimately rooted back to one larger problem. Both with the cruelty to factory workers and the conflict on Church vs. Theatre it was a baseline thought of human superiority. The factory owner saw the poor workers as property rather than humans, treating them with unfair working conditions and risking their safety. With the Church, they felt that they had the divine right to shut down the play, even though it was out of their domain. In both situations, one side sees their opposite as beneath them and therefore not to be treated with the same conditions they expect for themselves. Seeing this in the play allows me to analyze it all and decide how I feel on the topic without have a direct personal tie to the situation. From previous teachings I knew a little about both of these issues and watching this play it only solidified my thoughts. No matter our looks, social status, or beliefs we are all still human. We work for what we earn and should be treated with the same conditions and respect.
One of my favorite aspects about UF is no matter how different we are, we all come together and function as one united school. Take football games for example. There are 90,000 fans gathered in the swamp, over half of them being students. Engineers, doctors, fraternity brothers, business majors, Muslims, Christians, all in the same wave of orange and blue. All singing with their arms around each other. No judgement or discrimination.