The Divine: A Play For Sarah Bernharrdt Amanda Fernandes

The Spatial Experience

As i entered the beautiful lobby of the Constans Theater I was feeling a bit nervous going into a play that was two and a half hours long. Friendly people took my bag and helped me check in and then I finally got to enter the theater which was a sea of deep red chairs and huge stage that had walkways to the front left and right. I arrived quite early so the auditorium was pretty empty, a kind usher helped guide me front and center which i loved. I uneasily sat down in the not so comfy chair and I was just imagining the characters on the stage being just a few feet away from me. It was all slightly intimidating but the stage was set beautifully with a cathedral like background and some aligned beds. There was quite a good amount of people in the audience, some seemed bored while others seemed anxious. Suddenly the lights started to dim and everyone fell into a silence, my excitement started to increase as the first few characters entered from stage left. Many people have a "happy place" and this would be one for theater fanatics. A happy place is important in the good life because it takes us to that special feeling where we can escape our problems and feel at home.

The Social Experience

All By Myself

The social aspect must have been the hardest part for me because all of my friends had taken good life previously and I was attending this play alone. I am a person who likes to experience most of my life with my friends and it made me really scared to think that i had to go all by myself. Though i started off with anxiety for not having someone with me I gradually started feeling better about it. I actually enjoyed the play by myself and felt closer to the strangers around me. Though I didn't attend with friends it was a way to bond with the broader community, i could feel the people around me tense or laugh and we all shared those feelings together as the play progressed. The shared experiences that we have are the ones that matter most, you really feel the joy of being with friends and family and having something to talk about years from now.

The Cultural and Intellectual Experience

The cultural aspect really resided with me for this play. Set in 1905 in Quebec City, the main themes had to do with religion vs theater. The prominent issue was about a famous actress named Sarah Bernhardt who was being forbidden to play in this highly religious area, but she discovers some secrets throughout that calls for justice through theater. I didn't know much about the play or the subject matter before except that being from a Roman Catholic background I had heard a lot of stories about priests sexually abusing minors. The play also had a theme of social inequality, the workers were all women in poverty while Sarah Bernhardt was an actress in the upper class. This performance did change my views a little bit about theater helping out in social justice, being an outlet to speak out against wrong. But my views about theater not being a "sin" was always there and the play just enforced it more. Relating it to my own personal life I do receive some backlash for being Catholic. Not all Catholics are bad or prejudice but it takes those few terrible stories to change people's opinion towards a whole culture.

The Emotional Experience

I was definitely in for a roller coaster ride of emotions in this play, something i was not expecting. There was happiness, tension, anger, sadness, and so much more. It showed us the censorship and lack of justice that surrounded Quebec City. The play provided us with an opportunity for katharsis ("coming clean") by using the characters. Michaud and Sarah Bernhardt were both people who practiced katharsis everyday, they were not afraid to speak their mind and to speak about things that were taboo in society. They would call out the faults of society and by coming clean it helped the others realize the flaws that were all around them. This contributed to the audience also realizing the "less-than noble qualities" in our own society and how if we face them there is a chance to cleanse away the bad and live a happier life.

Picture Citations

Cooper, David. The Divine: A Play For Sarah Bernhardt.

Hoile, Christopher. The Divine: A Play For Sarah Bernhardt.

Created By
Amanda Fernandes

Made with Adobe Slate

Make your words and images move.

Get Slate

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.