Coming from both an acting background as well as a family full of history buffs, I had a lot of general knowledge about the time frame that the show took place in. I knew of the large disparity between the wealthy and the poor and of the poor wages and conditions that laborers (and children) were forced to work in for a vast number of hours every week. I attended a Jesuit High School, so my knowledge regarding the history of the Catholic church as well as its behaviors during this time were vast entering the production. In my opinion, there were several focuses focused on in the production that one could argue was the primary theme of the show. However, I believe the primary theme was the exploitation of children and view of them at the time as unworthy of making proper decisions and life choices for themselves. It furthered my opinion that it is improper and illogical to guide and "hold the hands" of children as they age and mature. Many of the younger characters in the show, such as Michaud, Talbot, and Leo were not allowed to make their own decisions or have input on their future for large parts of the show. When they each tried to take control of their own lives, they were scorned by the older adults, and just ignored more than before. Leo's death in the show was purely a consequence of the others' actions, and had they respected him, his decisions, and his actions as relevant more he would not have died. This subject matter has a relationship to my life, as well as that of many others my age, as we each try and prove to our parents, society, and ourselves that we deserves to be taken seriously and have a say in our own future and the future of the world.
The Emotional Experience
Exiting Constans Theater following the performance
The above photo actually has quite the story behind it. At first glance, it looks clearly rushed and blurry. And, if you compare it to the photo from earlier of before I entered the theater, the emotion on my face is very different. While I was smiling in the photo before the play, I am now sullen and not even looking at the camera. Frankly, the production struck a kind of nerve with me. I had seen other productions that tackled similar themes, but something about this one put me in such a state that the first thing I wanted to do following the show was go outside and think. That is why the photo seems so rushed. Because it is. My focus, upon leaving the theater, was so far away from the photo that I needed to take, that I did not even double check the quality of the picture before putting my phone away. In terms of Katharsis, the one I found will differ greatly than the Katharses my peers will have. Though I grew up a not very involved Lutheran, as I stated before, I attended a Jesuit Catholic high school. My Katharsis came from seeing the show illustrate the Catholic church as being hypocritical and full of molestation. In The Divine, we meet three people intertwined with the Catholic church, two seminarians and one priest. Talbot was molested by a priest, and Brother Casgrain, who works to cover up the scandal, is revealed to have been molested by the same priest that Talbot was. Though I know of the horrible history of the Catholic church, and know for a fact that child molestation in church is a horrible thing that has occurred too many times (which in this case would be once), I also personally know several priests, catholics, seminarians, and future seminarians who would never commit such a atrocious and inhuman act. Though I appreciate the production attempting to raise awareness by those affected by molestation in the church, I also felt very torn and emotional, as I felt that it was not the best medium or setting in which to push that agenda. For me, the "coming clean" moment was the realization and emotional epiphany that we cannot write off an entire group for the actions of a single person. Not all priests are molesters, not all athletes are role models, and not all communists are keen to destroy democracy. Though these are just broad examples, they exemplify the core of my Katharsis, that I, and all of us, need to push past the labels and discover the true soul behind those we have pigeon holed. We must work together to get past our shortcomings as people, and as a society.