The Divine Amy Wimberley

The Spatial Experience

On entering the theater, I was presented with an atmosphere of prestige and honor. Everyone was dressed in professional attire; women were wearing make-up and heels while men were clothed in ironed shirts and dress shoes. A college-aged girl scanned my student ID before I entered the theater and I was immediately seated to the far left of the stage. My location was not optimal, but I could still enjoy the play without interference. When the lights dimmed, I felt excitement; I do not attend plays regularly, but when I do, I enjoy watching the actors impersonate their character and portray intense emotions. A group of boys in front of me seemed antsy to leave and they kept whispering in each other's ear - probably discussing their plans for later that night.

Pamphlet for play

The Social Experience

I attended the play by myself - all my friends either took Good Life last semester or scheduled the play for a different night. On the left of me were a group of girls that seemed to be close friends and to the right was a boy whom attended the play by himself also. I wore nice jeans and a tank top with a cover-up to the play. I had a meeting to attend immediately following the play, so I had to dress appropriately for both occasions. Although I went to the play alone, I enjoyed seeing other people with their friends. I believe a person obtains a better experience when they are by themselves because they can concentrate their full attention to the action without any distractions.

Before entering the theater

The Cultural and Intellectual Experience

The play takes place in December 1905 in Quebec City. The central issue addressed in the performance is the battle between the Catholic Church and the world of theater. I do not know much about the history of the Catholic Church or the inner workings of religion, so I did not have an opinion on the topic prior to the play. Sarah Bernhardt wants to perform in a play that praises adultery and mocks a low-class man. These actions go against the morals of the Catholic Church, and therefore, create controversy. This subject matter doesn't relate to me very much, so I cannot say that I connected with the performance on another level.

Lobby during intermission

The Emotional Experience

At the beginning of the play, Talbot presents a gift to his mother that he could definitely not afford. We know that he comes from a low-income family and that his mother and younger brother work in a shoe factory. His younger brother immediately accuses him of stealing, and Talbot is presumed a thief for the rest of the play. On the other hand, Michaud comes from a very wealthy family and has not a worry in the world besides meeting Sarah Bernhardt. The contrast between the characters allows the audience to identify with one or the other. The opportunity for katharsis lies in this difference of characters. The audience could realize they might have done something they regret because of a monetary issue. Or on the other hand, a well-off audience member might realize they could pay attention to the bigger issues in life, issues that don't just pertain to themselves, such as poverty.

Credits:

Created with images by AndyRobertsPhotos - "London Theatre"

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