The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt spark-story By jessica schrier

Upon entering the theater I was directed to sit in the right middle section, with a slightly obstructed view by the individuals in front of me, hindering me from experiencing every aspect of the play. The stage was set as a bare room with a few small beds and bedside tables and nothing more, set to look like the grand seminary. The size of the auditorium was actually quite nice as it wasn't too large to where it felt no longer personal. The stage was small and so was the auditorium, so it felt like the actors were talking right to you. Also, the actors would often go into the crowd when reciting lines, to create that much more audience-actor interaction.

My pictures are terrible quality, but I attended the play with a friend who is also in my lecture session. To get ready for the play we read a little about the plot online so we knew what to expect in the future. Attending with a friend enhanced my experience because I likely would have enjoyed it less without someone there that I knew, being alone in the theater just seems daunting. Also, seeing the play with a friend or multiple friends allows for discussion. During the intermission we could talk about the play and what we thought about it thus far, as well as leaving the play we could discuss what we thought.

Before this performance I can honestly say I knew absolutely nothing about the life of a seminary in 1905. It is so interesting to see how the debate about what is considered right and wrong changes in each new millenium but how some go about arguing it stays the same. In this particular instance, the debate between whether or not the theater was something that should be praised or rid of completely. The audience was able to hear both sides of the argument and could pick a side for themselves. While I don't agree that theater should have been rid of completely, I also understand the seminary's argument. This particular play threatened everything they believed in and everything they've put their trust in since the beginning. I think they were not mad at Miss Bernhardt but rather scared of the light she might have shone on their way of life. They were just protecting themselves and doing what they thought was right.

"The Divine" gives the audience a chance for katharsis much like any play does; by allowing us to use someone else's life as an example. Sitting and watching a play in a dark theater is much different than having to comb through the problems in your own life, it is much less work to sit and watch. So I suppose essentially what I am saying is that it is easier to give advice than to take it, so in this case it seems as though you're giving advice to a character, but in reality you're giving it indirectly to yourself. Like the actors and actresses said in the talkback, it's easier to watch than to be watched.

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Jessica Schrier
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Created with images by kelseyannvere - "alley path city"

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