The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt Kenneth Fornos

Background photo is the poster cover taken online from UF website -

A picture of me outside of the Constans Theater, taken by a friend.

Spatial Experience

tEntering the Constans theater, I felt a little bit overwhelmed. Since the beginning of freshman year, I've gone to the Reitz Union many times and had no idea that the theater even existed. You can imagine how surprised I was to enter the theater and see how ample and nice it was. It felt like a very professional setting, with tasteful design, along with a lobby area that made me excited to enter the theater it self. I arrived a few minutes before the play started, so I was seated towards the very back, but thankfully in the center section. Sitting far away from the stage negatively affected my experience, as I can't see well from a distance, and I didn't have my glasses with me. But that didn't deter me much from understanding the play itself, as the theater provided great audio. When the lights dimmed, the atmosphere felt great. I was anxious for the play to start to see what it was about. The large size of the auditorium made the experience better for me due to the fact that I enjoyed the company of the many others in the auditorium. The role of place in the Good life is comfort. I felt comfortable in the auditorium, which made the play more enjoyable.

A picture I took of artwork in the lobby of the theater

Social Experience

I attended the play with one other friend. But, when we were seated inside the auditorium, I discovered that four other friends also were in attendance. To get ready for the performance, I took a shower and got ready like normally do. I was running a bit late, but still managed to figure out where the Constans Theater is located by researching it online. Attending the play with friends definitely enhanced my experience in a positive way. If there were parts in the play that I didn't quite understand, I could just ask one of my friends to clarify. If I had sat next to strangers, I most likely wouldn't have asked them to clarify. But, there were times when I would find myself talking to my friends a bit too much, and not focusing enough on the play. Still, I feel like attending the play with people that I know was more rewarding than it was damaging. I feel like I obtained a much better understanding with them there. Plus, everything is more enjoyable when you have company to share it with. The role of shared experiences in the Good Life is the acquisition of memories. By watching the play with friends, we all gained an experience together.

A photo of me inside the lobby, after the play. Taken by a friend.

Cultural and Intellectual Experience

The play took place in the very early 1900's in Quebec City. I feel like the play had several central issues. Sexual abuse was one of them, as Brother Casgrain and Talbot were both molested. Another issue was child labor/unfit work conditions. In the play Leo, the younger brother, had to work in the shoe factory along with his mother due to their poverty, and to help his older brother out financially. Conditions in the factory were terrible, and unsafe. Deaths within the factory (of children especially) were seen in the play. Most of the issues in the play revolved around the church. Examples include the priest trying to prevent Bernhardt from playing in the city, and Michaud not initially being able to carry out his love for theater to protect his place within the church. I've been informed on all of these topics in some way in the past. I'm mainly aware of the fact that although churches are supposed to be places of high prestige (and they are), but there are shady things that happen within them. Through history classes, I know about how children were essentially forced to work in factories, and that conditions within these factories were extremely poor. The play didn't necessarily change my views on these issues due to the fact that they're not really present today. The play might have strengthened my view that the church isn't as squeaky clean as thought.

Photo of playbill, taken by myself.

Emotional Experience

The play displayed Katharsis in two different ways. In one way, the molester of Brother Casgrain and Talbot "came clean" by confessing his actions against not only those two, but many other boys. In another way, Michaud comes clean to himself by rebelling against the church and allowing himself to follow his passion and become a play write for Sarah Bernhardt, an actress he really admired. I'm sure most of the audience couldn't relate to these cases since they're extremely specific, but I feel like the audience still learned lessons about coming clean. To me, it felt like two messages were relayed to the audience. One of them was that no matter how bad something you did is, it's always best to tell the truth, no matter the consequences. The second message is to always be true to yourself and do what you desire, not what people think you should do. Following these messages and coming clean will lead to you finding happiness, which is probably the most important part of living the Good Life.

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