(Photo used from David Cooper, Toronto Star)
The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt was a play put on at the Constans Theatre at the University of Florida. It combines the struggle of the working class and their relationship with religion.
Written permission from Valentina De Queiroz & Sara Figueroa
I have never been to the Constans Theatre, so I had no idea what to expect when walking in. I really enjoyed that the theater was small and intimate because too large of a room causes distractions from people talking and playing on their phones. I sat towards the left side with a decent distance from the stage. If I was to sit closer I may have been able to hear things a little bit better, but overall my seats were good. When the lights went down and the stage lights went on I had no idea what to expect from the layout of the opening scene. It looked as if it could've been a hospital, and I was surprised when it was a bedroom for a school. The constant changing of the scenes was very intriguing and kept me wondering what was going to happen next. When it comes to place, I think you need a cozy place that also gives you new ideas for the "good life."
I decided to go to the play with my roommate and two other girls that I live on the same floor in my dorm building, but am also very good friends with. We all decided to dress up a little more than usual just to try and fit into the theater atmosphere even though we didn't need to. If I went to the play alone, which I was planning on doing before I was invited by my friends, I wouldn't have enjoyed it as much. Sitting through the play alone would have meant there was no one telling me to get off my phone and pay attention. I have a very bad habit of playing games on my phone, and that would've taken away from the experience of the play. Going with friends meant I had other people to talk about the play with because we went the first night it opened while most people went towards the end. Shared experiences makes the good life happen, in my opinion. I believe you need social interaction to make the world go round.
Cultural and Intellectual Experience
Just like most, I don't have much knowledge about what goes on in Canada. The early 1900's play sets a different tone and meaning than one that would've been based off a more recent year. It makes you think back to history class and imagine what was going on around the world at such a time. The play focused around the intensity of religion and how it affected different groups of people. After reading the playwright, I was knowledgeable about how much influence the church had in Quebec City, priests and churches were not messed with. I'm not a very religious person, but after watching the performance I was enlightened to the fact of religion being a guiding light for all types of people. Michaud came from money, but had the same intentions as Talbot, a poor boy, of becoming a priest. Another thing that I was taught from this performance was to go for my dreams. Michaud was asked to give a letter to Sarah Bernhardt to not perform, but instead explains his infatuation with her and sits down to explain the play he's writing, even though that's against the Brother's orders. The subject matter doesn't particularly relate back to my life, but I can see the messages in the play coming into effect later in life.
Martinez, Antonio. Kim Kardashian Crying. 2012. Celebuzz.
When it comes to society, there is constant ebs and flows. You never know when something is "socially uncomfortable, politically contentious, religiously irreverent, or culturally radical," but theater provides an outlet no matter what the message. This play demonstrated katharsis by telling an emotional story about a young man sent to school to become a priest and his many experiences while away from home, while also meeting a young man that disregards his dream to be a priest and instead pursues his theater aspiration. There were many times during the play where the audience definitely sat back and said "wow, I understand." For example, when Talbot's mother and brother came to visit and they both expressed to Talbot how much they were working just for him to go to priest school. Also, this play touched on the sensitive topic of priests and rape, so this move further emphasizes the bold topics plays can push onto the audience.