My Experience at The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt Carly Triana

The Spatial Experience

The Constans Theatre was a place on campus that I had not previously visited. In the midst of the always-busy Reitz Union, I was surprised to find that the theatre had a quiet and relaxed atmosphere. As we were ushered in, I found myself placed in the very first row of the audience and in the center of the stage. This seat location completely changed how I viewed the play. I felt as though I could reach out and touch the actors; some of them even made direct eye contact with me during the performance. Sitting in the front row caused me to pay even closer attention to the play than I would have in another seat because I was not surrounded by other rows of distractions. I thought about the statue reference that Dr. Capaldo constantly makes to explain perspectives. I had the unique opportunity to be nose to nose with the "statue" of the night and gained unique insight because of it.

The Social Experience

I attended the play with one of my friends, Carolyn, who is in the same Good Life lecture as I am. We were able to remind each other of important elements of the play to pay attention to as well as discuss our thoughts afterwards. Going to the performance with a friend made the experience feel more enjoyable rather than simply feeling like a forced assignment. Sharing the experience of the play most definitely contributed to what I was able to take away from the evening. I also found it interesting that the entire audience was students from Good Life. The atmosphere was much different than other plays I have attended in the past with an audience of mixed ages. There was an aura of youth and energy focused towards watching and learning from the play.

Next in line to scan my Gator1 and enter the theater

The Cultural and Intellectual Experience

The central issue addressed in the play focused on the Church and its flaws. These flaws include the rejecting of the arts and the corruption of people in positions of authority. Prior to the play, I knew little about the subject matter. Seeing these flaws brought to life by the actors and actresses helped me realize how serious these issues are. Though the Church has changed since the time setting of the play, I am sure that not all of the issues are completely resolved. The separation of Church from secular ideals, organizations, and actions is still a common issue today. The play did not necessarily change my opinion of the subject matter, but it did force me to think more in depth about what it is I believe.

The Emotional Experience

The Divine play certainly provided me with a new view of theater and the arts. During the Talk Back, one of the actors brought up the point that if people leave performances and do not continue talking about the play, for better or for worse, then the art is rendered useless. After leaving, I felt the need to talk about my thoughts on the play with whomever I saw for the remainder of the night. My feedback was not solely positive; but, as the actor stated, the fact that I was talking about it at all boosted the value of the performance. Theater is a way for a group of people to discuss an issue in a way that does not involve debate or argument. Hundreds of students all viewing the same play that discussed a serious issue provides an opportunity for information on the issue to reach hundreds more. If each student in attendance discusses the play with one person who did not attend, the goal of the performance is reached and many in our society are changed. Together, the students who attended piece together the statue that is The Divine from all angles; I am lucky to have been a part of the experience.

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