My Experiences at the Divine: a play for sarah bernhardtMatthew Galluzzo
The Spatial Experience: I got to sit a few rows away from the stage and was fortunate to be in an aisle seat. This aisle seat gave me the opportunity to have an up-close interaction and viewing of the actors whenever they moved up and down the aisles. A seat closer to the stage also allowed me to better view the play in contrast to sitting way in the back. The size of the theatre was appropriate and comfortable to watch a play in. The stage and props looked magnificent. The beds and windows made it seem as if the actors were in an actual seminary. The same applies for the props in the sweatshop and in Sarah Bernhardt's dressing room. When the lights went down and the theatre went dark, I wasn't expecting the actors to start their movements throughout the crowd but that motion started the play off strong. Place plays a large role in the Good Life. My location in the theatre made me satisfied and the same applies to where I live now at UF. I partially base my good life off where I live and whether or not I am happy and successful there (warm weather is my favorite).
The Cultural and Intellectual Experience: American culture has drastically changed since the time that this play was set in. Women had very few rights; and everything was very black-and-white, meaning that there were no deviations from the set "normal." With the case of Michaud, he tries to break free from this normalcy by desiring to write a play despite being tied down by a life of holiness in the seminary. That is the central issue addressed in the play: a person's ability to break free and deviate from their set course of life to experience new things despite society telling them to stick to their "destined" path. I didn't know much about the subject matter prior to the play, but I did read a quick synopsis and had a general perspective about what to expect from the play. The performance aligned well with my views on the central issues in the play. This subject matter doesn't have any major relationship to my life. I feel happy with what is going on in my life and don't feel pressured to stick to a certain course with my studies in college and feel blessed because of that.
The Social Experience: This experience of my attending and watching the play may have been my favorite one. I originally planned on seeing the play by myself; but, as I waited in line to enter the theatre, I struck up a great conversation with this one girl and ended up sitting with her for the play. We both shared the experience of the play, especially when the actors said or did something funny to make us laugh. If my new friend were not at the play, I would not have the opportunity to share that moment with her and that shows the importance of shared experiences. From now on, we can occasionally bring up the time that we saw the play together and that helps solidify good friendships for a good life. An anti-social and isolated life doesn't contribute well to a good life, and this is surely contrasted with having healthy friendships that help enhance life as a whole.
The Emotional Experience: The play gave the audience a full dose of katharsis by exposing the faults and flaws of society. Starting with the seminary; I came to realize that, despite being a holy place, there still is a fair share of unholy things that go on in the seminary. Brother Casgrain exposes many of the Church's faults in his dialogue with Michaud and Talbot, including censorship of Sarah Bernhardt's play and sexual abuse scandals within the hierarchy. Another fault that is brought to light is the poor working conditions in factories. A false image and curtain is used to cover up the many workplace accidents and dangerous working conditions of factories, evidenced by the deaths of the two young girls near the beginning of the play and Leo Talbot's death at the end of the play. These horrors should always be known to the common folk. Learning about the truth does give me a sense of closure and katharsis. I won't be able to attain a good life if I do not reflect on and acknowledge both the good and bad aspects of my life.
The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt. 2017. University of Florida, Gainesville. UF College of the Arts. Web. 2 Feb. 2017.
The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt. 2015. Michael Mouchard, Quebec City. Michael Mouchard. Web. 2 Feb. 2017.
Cooper, David. The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt. 2015. Ontario. James Karas Reviews. Web. 2 Feb. 2017.