THE DIVINE: A PLAY FOR SARAH BERNHARDT PRESENTATION BY THOMAS BETTOR

THE SPATIAL EXPERIENCE: Going into this play, I felt a variety of emotions and feelings. To be honest, this was the first play I've attended in about 10 years so I didn't know how I was supposed to feel or what to think about heading into the play. As I walked out of the car and proceeded to the theatre, I immediately noticed how crowded the area around the theatre was and what I found very interesting was that the scene was littered with not only college students, but with middle aged and even elderly adults. You could tell they truly had a passion for the theatre and they were ready to divulge into the play for the next three hours and have both their emotional and intellectual senses manipulated. This is something I marveled at and the overall friendly atmosphere created by the hosts and employees also made for a lovely beginning. I was a little upset that I was basically sitting in the back row of the audience; however, one thing that I was on the look out for was a potential walk-through the audience by an actor so I occasionally glanced behind myself to get a better feel for my surroundings which may have been a little naive. I was very anxious for the play to start and I did feel some suspense waiting for the play to begin. Once the lights dimmed, I was immediately hooked and very intrigued as to how in character the actors were and how they portrayed their roles withs such devotion and originality. I thought the size of the audience was just right as it was big enough to feel like there was an in-touch atmosphere yet small enough to be able to develop a personal connection with the play. I think place plays a huge role in the "Good Life" as your surroundings will always affects not only one's emotions, but feelings and thoughts. Therefore, I thought this setting was very appropriate for this play and allowed for the audience to get swept up by the events of the play.
THE SOCIAL EXPERIENCE: Once again being a relative new-comer to the theatre, I was not totally sure how to prepare for this event and didn't really know what to do from a social perspective. I thought what I did was very nice and easy-going as I ended going with four of my very good friends from high school and we all were able to sit by each other. We all decided to dress up relatively nice, although we weren't too flashy because we wanted to look respectable, but not seem like people trying to make a statement. I thought it was pretty cool we were able to talk to each other before the play began and gauge each other's moods and feelings. Also, we discussed how we felt at the intermission and tried to recap to ourselves what was going on so we were clear on the necessary information needed to understand the rest of the play. It is unquestionable that having friends alongside at the theatre significantly enhanced my experience. Without them I still would have enjoyed the play, although I probably would have felt a little more alone and not as involved with the play. I think what I just previously mentioned has many applications to daily life and reality in that shared experiences are vital in developing one's emotional and mental well-being as it is human nature to long for companionship. Having shared experiences with other individuals allows people to reflect on memories when things are all said and done, and can let us cherish our moments with those close to us.
THE CULTURAL AND INTELLECTUAL EXPERIENCE: Anytime you go and observe a work of art whether it be a play, movie, painting, etc. from a more ancient part of time, you are going to think back to what times were like in that era and analyze that situation. When analyzing a situation, it is indeed paramount to take into consideration the societal norms at that time and how the individuals had to deal with all relevant factors at that time. This play is an ideal example of this in which it took place many years ago and the audience imagines the common ideals of society and what was expected back then. This play takes place right around the turn of the twentieth century and truly highlights some of the shocking stereotypes and injustices of the time. There were a couple central themes in this play and the ones that stuck out to me the most were the blatant class distinctions and the abuse of the poor by the rich. Just take a look at the factory and how the head of the factory took advantage of all of his workers without blinking an eye. The factory conditions were horrible as there were under-age kids working in the factory, like Leo, women being forced to work overtime without pay, and an obvious disregard for the well-being of any of the employees. It amazes me, looking from my current perspective, how this was so common, although illegal, in this era and how so many wealthy individuals could forcefully use their status to belittle and harass those deemed to be below them. You always hear about cases like these from textbooks or documentaries, but to have a live portrayal of these events up close and personal was very eye-opening and alarming. Another theme that I wanted to touch on was how corrupt society can be at times, no matter what point in history, as there are always people looking to exploit others. This just makes me wonder how far can people really go and when are lines drawn to ensure some degree of peace and honesty within society. There isn't a specific instance this play relates to in my own life, but it does speak to several significant issues plaguing society today like inequality and corruption.
THE EMOTIONAL EXPERIENCE: I believe The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt provides a phenomenal opportunity for katharsis and emotional release. It is undeniable that theatre touches topics and situations which are often controversial or heavily disputed, and while a play portrays something of this nature, it can allow for an individual like myself to truly reflect on society and within my own self. Introspection, in my opinion, is vital for people to get in touch with their inner beliefs and decide what stance they want to take on serious issues. In particular, this play offers up some of the dark and undesirable qualities that are seen in human nature and society as a whole and to me are deeply concerning. For example, there's something to be said about how common manipulation is in this play which speaks to the larger theme in life, in that individuals will take advantage of others at any cost if it means getting ahead and increasing wealth. This is extremely troubling and can be seen with the factory owner and even with the Priest who tried to cover up some of the terrible things he has done in his life. This play was something I viewed as inspirational and emotionally striking as it makes you think how could certain things have taken place the way they did back then, as well as what I would have possibly done if I was in the shoe's of the characters at the time of this play.

Works Cited: "University of Florida Constans Theater Air Handling Unit T2 Replacement." Foresight. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Feb. 2017.

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