Set in Quebec in 1905, The Divine focuses heavily on the contrast of different cultures and upbringings. The world of abuse, poverty and oppression can be seen through the eyes of the main character, Talbot, while the privileged world of the rich can be seen through the eyes of his foil, Michaud. This opposition is emphasized through Talbot's emotionally scarring story of sexual abuse by a priest. Talbot is only able to study in the seminary because the church is repaying him for the injustice done to him by the priest while Michaud is able to pay for his studies with his family's money. However, the church hopes that by giving aid to Talbot's poor family, he will lie to the court in order to save the reputation of the church and the priest. Upon hearing this story, Michaud is appalled at the injustice and inequality happening around him. He decides to write a play about his friend's story in order to bring him justice. After meeting his idol, actor Sarah Bernhardt, he realizes that he can make an impact through theatre which is another theme of the play. Throughout the play you can see this fight for equality by the factory workers, Sarah Bernhardt, Michaud, and Leo. This concept of equality for every individual is still relevant in today's society where we still march for issues like racism and sexism. Watching the play during the week of Donald Trump's inauguration and the woman's march allowed me to view these events in a different, more impactful manner.
The Emotional Experience
The play, The Divine, provides us with an opportunity to fight inequality face to face. It forces the viewer to think twice about the world around them. Do we truly live in a world where everyone is equal? This question may have a thousand different answers, but by watching this play, we may take one step closer to answering the question for ourselves.
Resources for photos:
Ouzounia, Richard. "The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt holds harrowing moments but doesn’t quite jell: review". thestar.com. Toronto Star Newspapers Ltd. 25 July, 2015. https://www.thestar.com/entertainment/stage/2015/07/25/the-divine-a-play-for-sarah-bernhardt-holds-harrowing-moments-but-doesnt-quite-jell-review.html. Accessed 30 January, 2017.
photo of workers with boss:
Bouchard, Michel M. "La Divine Illusion- The Divine". michelmarcbouchard.com. 05 July 2015. http://www.michelmarcbouchard.com/pieces-68.html. Accessed 30 January 2017.
Mars, Suzanna. Facebook. 27 January 2017. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10210388977416252&set=p.10210388977416252&type=3&theater. Accessed 30 January 2017.