My experience at "The Divine" By: Carlos Bello

I had the opportunity to attend this play and walk into Constans Theatre for the first time ever in my first few semesters here at UF. "The Divine: A Sarah Bernhardt Story" is not the best play I have ever attended but it is definitely one of the most unique performances I have ever seen. Being able to watch this story unfold of a 20th Century actress going through the religious conflicts of the early 1900s with my classmates and friends, was a great experience. Not only is this a story about Sarah but all the other characters supplied prominent roles and truly gave the story meaning.
When I arrived to the theatre I could not have imagined that such a huge performance space was just behind those doors that I would walk past every day. I felt a little like I was back home when I took in the setting, I'm accustomed to fairly large theatres like this one back in Miami, and even larger. My seat was located to the right side of the theatre up like about 10 rows from the front. It was a fairly good seat, I didn't really have any bad angles. The lights began to dim and I was interested in what was to come of this performance and If I would enjoy it. The environment you find yourself placed in makes all the difference when in pursuit of the good life. If you don' yourself comfortable in the surroundings then you will never be even remotely happy.
I attended the performance with one of my classmates/roommate thinking it wouldn't be as fun of an experience if I didn't attend it with someone I know. Before I arrived I prepared myself mentally to try and remember as much as I could to be able to complete this assignment. Honestly I got so caught up in the play that I forgot about the assignment. It was a great experience sitting around so many people I actually knew from my previous classes. Sharing experiences with others is one of the most important aspects of life. Bonding and creating connections with new people through experiences that would otherwise be painstaking and boring is one of the most enjoyable parts in the path of reaching the good life.
This play is set in 20th century Quebec City, Canada. This performance gives a different perspective as to how different things were back then. When it comes to language, setting, and even current events. It really throws you in a time machine of a time I wasn't a part of too much except for being born 3 years before it ended. The performance is centered on the oppression of the church in the early 1900's and how Sarah was not allowed to perform due to the content of the script. I was very well aware of the religious conflicts in the first decades of the 20th century but it wasn't really part of my knowledge that performances such as plays were forbidden. The play gave a light side to the serious problems at the time but also informed me even more than I thought. The only connection I have to anything remotely relatable to this topic is that my community was predominantly Christian so being a Catholic like myself wasn't exactly popular. However I did not really experience any discrimination.
The theatre is one of the most powerful art forms on planet earth. It can bring joy, sadness, frustration, and even tears to it's viewers eyes. But perhaps the most powerful effect is that of katharsis. It makes you view yourself in a way you never thought of before. The Divine is a very thought provoking performance, you constantly find yourself thinking what you would do in these situations. How would I raise my children? Would I allow them to devote themselves to god? Would I allow them to steal silverware in order to keep our family afloat? How would I have approached Sarah Berndhardt? These are all questions I consistently asked myself due to the fact that this play is involved in most morally challenging and argument starting topics such as religion and politics.
Created By
Carlos Bello


Created with images by Bahman Farzad - "Alabama Theatre" • cr03 - "Theatre" • City of Thunder Bay Archives - "Firefighting, early 20th century" • kaykaybarrie - "Factory Theatre"

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